Nasa Releases Spectacular Image of Ancient Star Cluster
A new photo released by Nasa revealing a multi-coloured cluster of more than 100,000 stars has dazzled astronomers and fans of the Hubble Space Telescope.
The image shows the globular cluster known as Messier 5, or M5. In the description accompanying the picture, Nasa quotes a description from the 18th century astronomer Charles Messier’s catalogue of clusters and other nebulae. For this particular cluster, the fifth described in his catalogue, Messier began by writing “Beautiful Nebula discovered between the Balance [Libra] & the Serpent [Serpens] …”
The description is notable because it seems that M5 appeared to Messier to be a nebula, a cloud of space dust and gas, rather than a cluster of stars. It wasn’t until space observation technology was developed further that the definition was changed.
Nasa explained: “Though it appeared to Messier to be fuzzy and round and without stars, Messier 5 (M5) is now known to be a globular star cluster, 100,000 stars or more, bound by gravity and packed into a region around 165 light-years in diameter.”