First discovered in 1826 by Scottish astronomer James Dunlop, the globular cluster known as NGC 6380 is roughly 35,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Scorpius (the bright star at the upper left of this Hubble Space Telescope image is much closer, “just” 4,000 light years away). As the European Space Agency points out on its Hubble page, the cluster was independently rediscovered eight years later by John Herschel and then again in 1959 by Paris Pişmiş. Until the 1950s, NGC 6380 was thought to be an open cluster but was recognised as a globular by A.D. Thackeray. Globular clusters are found in nearly all galaxies, and more than 150 have been observed in a roughly spherical halo around the Milky Way. This razor-sharp image of NGC 6380 was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3.
This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the simple beauty of NGC 339, a 6.5-billion-year-old massive intermediate age star cluster that lies in the SMC, a dwarf galaxy some 200,000 light-years away from us. The relationship between such clusters and true globular clusters is not yet fully understood.
A group of researchers using the W. M. Keck Observatory have discovered a planet-like body that may have been encrusted in limestone and is having its surface layers devoured by its deceased host star. The team found that the rocky material being accreted by the star could be comprised of minerals that are typically associated with marine life processes here on Earth.