Cosmic fairy lights

This sparkling jumble is Messier 5 — a globular cluster consisting of hundreds of thousands of stars bound together by their collective gravity.

But Messier 5 is no normal globular cluster. At 13 billion years old it is incredibly old, dating back to close to the beginning of the Universe, which is some 13.8 billion years of age. It is also one of the biggest clusters known, and at only 24 500 light-years away, it is no wonder that Messier 5 is a popular site for astronomers to train their telescopes on.

Messier 5 also presents a puzzle. Stars in globular clusters grow old and wise together. So Messier 5 should, by now, consist of old, low-mass red giants and other ancient stars. But it is actually teeming with young blue stars known as blue stragglers. These incongruous stars spring to life when stars collide, or rip material from one another.

Credit:

About the Image

Id:potw1416a
Type:Observation
Release date:21 April 2014, 10:00
Size:4288 x 3209 px

About the Object

Name:Messier 5
Type:• Local Universe : Star : Grouping : Cluster : Globular
• X - Star Clusters Images/Videos
Distance:25000 light years

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Ultraviolet
U
390 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

Image Formats

Large JPEG
7.0 MB
Screensize JPEG
639.4 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
710.9 KB
1280x1024
1.1 MB
1600x1200
1.5 MB
1920x1200
1.7 MB
2048x1536
2.3 MB

Also see our