Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2014 May 29
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Millions of Stars in Omega Centauri
Image Credit & Copyright: CEDIC Team, Processing - Christoph Kaltseis

Explanation: Globular star cluster Omega Centauri, also known as NGC 5139, is some 15,000 light-years away. The cluster is packed with about 10 million stars much older than the Sun within a volume about 150 light-years in diameter, the largest and brightest of 200 or so known globular clusters that roam the halo of our Milky Way galaxy. Though most star clusters consist of stars with the same age and composition, the enigmatic Omega Cen exhibits the presence of different stellar populations with a spread of ages and chemical abundances. In fact, Omega Cen may be the remnant core of a small galaxy merging with the Milky Way. This astronomically sharp color image of the classic globular cluster was recorded in March under Chilean skies from Hacienda Los Andes.

Tomorrow's picture: blacklighting

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