Washington, DC - September 9, 2009 -- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Hubble Space Telescope snapped this panoramic view of a colorful assortment of 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of a giant star cluster.  The image reveals a small region inside the massive globular cluster Omega Centauri, which boasts nearly 10 million stars. Globular clusters, ancient swarms of stars united by gravity, are the homesteaders of our Milky Way galaxy. The stars in Omega Centauri are between 10 billion and 12 billion years old. The cluster lies about 16,000 light-years from Earth.  This is one of the first images taken by the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), installed aboard Hubble in May 2009, during Servicing Mission 4. The camera can snap sharp images over a broad range of wavelengths.  The photograph showcases the camera's color versatility by revealing a variety of stars in key stages of their life cycles.  The majority of the stars in the image are yellow-white, like our Sun. These are adult stars that are shining by hydrogen fusion. Toward the end of their normal lives, the stars become cooler and larger. These late-life stars are the orange dots in the image.  Even later in their life cycles, the stars continue to cool down and expand in size, becoming red giants. These bright red stars swell to many times larger than our Sun's size and begin to shed their gaseous envelopes.  After ejecting most of their mass and exhausting much of their hydrogen fuel, the stars appear brilliant blue. Only a thin layer of material covers their super-hot cores. These stars are desperately trying to extend their lives by fusing helium in their cores. At this stage, they emit much of their light at ultraviolet wavelengths.  When the helium runs out, the stars reach the end of their lives. Only their burned-out cores remain, and they are called white dwarfs (the faint blue dots in the image). White dwarfs are no longer generating energy through nuclear fusion a
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Hubble
Washington, DC - September 9, 2009 -- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Hubble Space Telescope snapped this panoramic view of a colorful assortment of 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of a giant star cluster. The image reveals a small region inside the massive globular cluster Omega Centauri, which boasts nearly 10 million stars. Globular clusters, ancient swarms of stars united by gravity, are the homesteaders of our Milky Way galaxy. The stars in Omega Centauri are between 10 billion and 12 billion years old. The cluster lies about 16,000 light-years from Earth. This is one of the first images taken by the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), installed aboard Hubble in May 2009, during Servicing Mission 4. The camera can snap sharp images over a broad range of wavelengths. The photograph showcases the camera's color versatility by revealing a variety of stars in key stages of their life cycles. The majority of the stars in the image are yellow-white, like our Sun. These are adult stars that are shining by hydrogen fusion. Toward the end of their normal lives, the stars become cooler and larger. These late-life stars are the orange dots in the image. Even later in their life cycles, the stars continue to cool down and expand in size, becoming red giants. These bright red stars swell to many times larger than our Sun's size and begin to shed their gaseous envelopes. After ejecting most of their mass and exhausting much of their hydrogen fuel, the stars appear brilliant blue. Only a thin layer of material covers their super-hot cores. These stars are desperately trying to extend their lives by fusing helium in their cores. At this stage, they emit much of their light at ultraviolet wavelengths. When the helium runs out, the stars reach the end of their lives. Only their burned-out cores remain, and they are called white dwarfs (the faint blue dots in the image). White dwarfs are no longer generating energy through nuclear fusion a

Filename: 090909Hubble08.jpg
Source: Consolidated News Photos
Date: 9 Sep 2009
Location: Washington District of Columbia United States of America
Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team via CNP
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