‘Starstruck’: NASA Shares Image of ‘Rediscovered’ Globular Star Cluster 35,000 Light Years Away From Earth

Space is a repository of planets, galaxies, and umpteen stars. And agencies such as NASA and European Space Agency

(ESA) have, from time to time, brought to us some breathtaking visuals, in a way acting as a bridge between humans

and the universe.

On Saturday, NASA shared a fascinating view of a snow-globe-shaped island comprising several

hundred thousand stars. Held together by gravity, these stars make up a globular cluster, which the pictures where

taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. In an Instagram post, NASA wrote that the globular cluster was in the

constellation,

Scorpio, located 35,000 light-years away from the Earth.

“Globular clusters are spherical groups of stars held together by gravity. They often contain some of the oldest stars in

their galaxies,” added the space agency. Quite fascinating to hear, though, that this cluster has been discovered and

rediscovered throughout time and is known by many names.

NASA said that the discovery was by James Dunlop in 1826, only to rediscover it eight years later in 1834, and

then over a century later again in 1959.

“Nowadays, this cluster is reliably recognised in widely available catalogues,” it said.

4,000 light-years from the Earth

Furthermore, in a note on its website, NASA said that the very bright star at the top of the image was HD 159073, only

around 4,000 light-years from the Earth. That also made it a much nearer neighbour than NGC 6380, said the space

agency.

However, NASA further goes on to mention the discovery and subsequent rediscoveries of the NGC 6380 cluster. NASA

states that the discovery of the cluster was by James Dunlop in 1826. Then, in 1834, “it was independently rediscovered by

John Herschel”. Again, in 1959, “the cluster was re-rediscovered” by Paris Pismis.

However, The photography of the cluster was by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 that has a wide field of view, which means that it can

capture a relatively large area of the sky. And, with that, NASA also announced that all the instruments on its Hubble

Space Telescope were now operational again and thereby collecting science data once again to expand the human

understanding of the universe.

The orbiting observatory had gone dark in mid-June, with all astronomical viewing halted, but it has been fixed now.

By Cynthia N.

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