Image: 10 million star puzzle | 8/9/2018 | Staff
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When observed with the unaided eye, Omega Centauri, the object in this image, appears as a fuzzy, faint star. But the blue orb we see here is, in fact, a collection of stars—10 million of them. You cannot count them all, but in this sharp, beautiful image you can see a few of the numerous pinpoints of bright light that make up this unique cluster.

The image was taken by Wouter van Reeven, a software engineer at ESA's European Space Astronomy Centre near Madrid, Spain, during his recent visit to Chile to observe the July total solar eclipse. From his home base in Spain the cluster only grazes the horizon, making it near-impossible to image, but from the La Silla Observatory in Chile it was high in the sky, presenting the ideal opportunity to photograph it.

Omega - Centauri - Example - Cluster - Gravity

Omega Centauri is a picture-perfect example of a globular cluster: tightly bound by gravity, it has a very high density of stars at its center and a nearly perfect spherical shape (the name "globular cluster" comes from the Latin word for small sphere, globulus). It lives in the halo of the Milky Way, at a distance of about 15 800 light years from Earth.

As other globular clusters, Omega Centauri is made up of very old stars and it is almost devoid of gas and dust, indicating star...
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