From the Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble Space Telescope has captured a view of a globular cluster called G1 or Mayall II, a large, bright ball of light in the center of the photograph consisting of at least 300,000 old stars. G1 orbits the Andromeda galaxy (M31), the nearest major spiral galaxy to our Milky Way. Located 130,000 light-years from Andromeda's nucleus, G1 is the brightest globular cluster in the Local Group of galaxies. The Local Group consists of about 20 nearby galaxies, including the Milky Way. The crisp image is comparable to ground-based telescope views of similar clusters orbiting the Milky Way. The Andromeda cluster, however, is nearly 100 times farther away.
A glimpse into the cluster's finer details allow astronomers to see its fainter helium-burning stars whose temperatures and brightnesses show that this cluster in Andromeda and the oldest Milky Way clusters have approximately the same age. These clusters probably were formed shortly after the beginning of the universe, providing astronomers with a record of the earliest era of galaxy formation.
Image Title: Globular Cluster G1 in Galaxy M31
based on press release for PHOTO NO.: STScI-PRC96-11
Credit: Michael Rich, Kenneth Mighell, and James D. Neill (Columbia University), and Wendy Freedman (Carnegie Observatories), and NASA
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Last Modified On: Tuesday, December 19, 2000