The celestial workhorse and its dedicated team of astronomers are here again by delivering a new hypnotic image of the globular cluster and its infinite depths of stars.
But while the new image from the Hubble Space Telescope is stunning, there is much more to this part of the sky than the eye can see. The group, dubbed Ruprecht 106, is also home to the great mystery of Sherlock’s proportions – and the game is underway to unravel the cluster’s enigmatic composition, the statement said. (opens in new tab) from the European Space Agency, a partner in the observatory.
Scientists agree that although all the stars in the nucleus in the globular cluster were born at about the same time and place, there are stars in these cosmic nurseries that show unique chemical compositions that can vary greatly. Astronomers believe that this variation represents later stars formed from gas contaminated with the processed material of larger first-generation stars.
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However, rare globular clusters such as Ruprecht 106 are deprived of these star variants and are instead cataloged as clusters with a single population, where a second or third generation star has never formed. Astronomers hope that a more detailed study of this amazing globular cluster can explain why it has only one generation of stars.
Ruprecht 106, also known as C 1235-509, is located in our Milky Way galaxy some 69,100 light-years from Earth in the constellation Centaur, and was first discovered by the Czech astronomer Jaroslav Ruprecht in 1961.
This dazzling Ruprecht 106 color image was created using separate exposures recorded in the visible and near-infrared part of the spectrum using the Hubble Advanced Research Camera (ACS). This optical instrument is a third-generation device that replaced Hubble’s original camera for weak objects in 2002.
Many other instruments of the legendary space telescope have also undergone a series of upgrades in low Earth orbit over the years.
Its wide-field camera 3 replaced the wide-field camera and planetary camera 2 (VFPC2) during a spacewalk in 2009, and the VFPC2 was replaced by the original wide-angle and planetary camera installed at the triumphant launch of the prestigious orbital observatory in 1990.
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