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Hubble views heavy-metal stars

This 10.5-billion-year-old globular cluster, NGC 6496, is home to heavy-metal stars of a celestial kind! The stars comprising this spectacular spherical cluster are enriched with much higher proportions of metals (in astronomy, elements heavier than hydrogen and helium are curiously known as metals) than stars found in similar clusters.


A new way to determine the age of stars?

Researchers have developed a new conceptual framework for understanding how stars similar to our Sun evolve. Their framework helps explain how the rotation of stars, their emission of X-rays, and the intensity of their stellar winds vary with time. Their work could ultimately help to determine the age of stars more precisely than is currently possible.


High-speed CHIMERA to scout for Kuiper Belt objects

At the Palomar Observatory near San Diego, astronomers are busy tinkering with a high-tech instrument that could discover a variety of objects both far from Earth and closer to home. The Caltech HIgh-speed Multi-colour camERA (CHIMERA) system is looking for objects in the Kuiper Belt, the band of icy bodies beyond the orbit of Neptune that includes Pluto.


See the Moon’s ringed-planet rendezvous on 3-4 February

At 6am GMT on the mornings of 3 and 4 February, around the onset of astronomical twilight for the centre of the British Isles, the old waning crescent Moon brushes by ringed planet Saturn low to the south-southeast horizon. As a bonus for telescope users, the Moon occults globular cluster M9 shortly after 6am GMT on 4 February too.

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Terzan 1: a home for old stars

This image, taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows the globular cluster Terzan 1. Lying around 20,000 light-years from us in the constellation of Scorpius, it is one of about 150 globular clusters belonging to our galaxy, the Milky Way.

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Hubble resolves youthful globular cluster NGC 1783

This Hubble Space Telescope image shows globular cluster NGC 1783 in the Southern Hemisphere constellation of Dorado. NGC 1783 lies within the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way, some 160,000 light-years from Earth. NGC 1783 is thought to be less than 1.5 billion years old — very young for a globular cluster.