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.
In a Hubble Space Telescope survey of 2,753 young, blue star clusters in the neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy (M31), astronomers have found that M31 and our own galaxy have a similar percentage of newborn stars based on mass. The intensive survey was a unique collaboration between astronomers and “citizen scientists,” volunteers who provided invaluable help in analysing the mountain of data from Hubble.