NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 30 January 2023: Hubble snaps Globular Star Cluster 6355

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is a breathtaking snapshot of a group of stars known as Globular Star Cluster NGC 6355.

| Updated on: Jan 30 2023, 12:16 IST
Know the 5 biggest stars in the universe!
1/5 UY Scuti- Located 9500 light-years away from Earth, the UY Scuti is a hypergiant, which a rare star with extremely high luminosity, size and mass. It is the largest star in the universe and can be found outside of Scutum, approximately 4.5 degrees southwest from Alpha Scuti. First catalogued in 1860, the UY Scuti’s mass is 23.0 solar masses and it is actually 47 percent cooler than the Sun and it belongs to the constellation Scutum. It has a radius of 1,708 solar radii. (NASA )
2/5 V766 Centauri Aa- The V766 Centauri Aa is a hypergiant part of the Centaurus constellation and is located approximately 4,900 to 11,700 light-years away from Earth. It has a solar mass of 13.0 and the V766 Centauri Aa is 21 percent cooler than the sun. It has a radius of approximately 1,492 solar radii. (NASA)
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3/5 KY Cygni- The KY Cygni can be located below the crossbeam of the Northern Cross asterism, 5000 light-years away from Earth. It is part of the Cygnus constellation and has a staggering diameter of 1.976 billion km. The KY Cygni was first discovered in 1930 and was recognized as a red supergiant and has a radius of 1,420 solar radii. (NASA)
4/5 AH Scorpii- The AH Scorpii is part of the constellation Scorpius and is located above the Fishhook asterism. The AH Scorpii has a smaller mass of 1.2 solar masses compared to other stars and it is approximately 40 percent cooler than the Sun. It has a radius of approximately 1,411 solar radii (NASA)
5/5 VV Cephei- The VV Cephei is part of the Cepheus constellation and is located near the bottom of the constellation. The VV Cephei is a red-orange supergiant with a mass of 13.0 solar masses and is 21 percent cooler than the Sun. It has a radius of 1,329.62 solar radii. (NASA)
 Globular Star Cluster NGC 6355
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Globular Star Cluster NGC 6355 shot by Hubble is a group of stars nearly 13 billion years old. (NASA/ESA/Hubble Telescope)

Although the new James Webb Space Telescope has been capturing incredible images of celestial events, the Hubble Space Telescope has once again proved that, even though it may be old, it is still capable of capturing breathtaking images. Since the launch of Hubble in 1990, it has become relatively very easy to observe distant stars due to its presence about 340 miles above the Earth. Not just stars, but Hubble has also captured breathtaking images of groups of stars, known as Star Clusters.

NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a breathtaking snapshot of the Globular Star Cluster NGC 6355, which is nearly 13 billion years old. Stars are celestial objects millions of years old floating in space. The older and bigger the star, the brighter it appears. They are formed in star-forming regions called Nebulae. The makeup of a Nebula consists of gases, mainly hydrogen and helium. After formation, many stars form groups from the same Nebula, which is known as a Star Cluster. According to NASA, Star clusters can contain as few as ten stars or as many as millions of stars.

The image was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope which is run by NASA and ESA in collaboration.

This stunning discovery by the Hubble Telescope further proves the capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope.

What are Globular Clusters

Globular clusters once ruled the Milky Way. Back in the old days, back when our Galaxy first formed, perhaps thousands of globular clusters roamed our Galaxy. Today, there are less than 200 left. Over the eons, many globular clusters were destroyed by repeated fateful encounters with each other or the Galactic center. Surviving relics are older than any Earth fossil, older than any other structures in our Galaxy, and limit the universe itself in raw age. There are few, if any, young globular clusters left in our Milky Way Galaxy because conditions are not ripe for more to form.

The featured image shows a Hubble Space Telescope view of 13-billion-year-old NGC 6355, a surviving globular cluster currently passing near the Milky Way's center. Globular cluster stars are concentrated toward the image center and highlighted by bright blue stars. Most other stars in the frame are dimmer, redder, and just coincidentally lie near the direction to NGC 6355.

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First Published Date: 30 Jan, 12:10 IST
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