NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the centre of Messier 4

This sparkling picture taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the centre of globular cluster Messier 4. The power of Hubble has resolved the cluster into a multitude of glowing orbs, each a colossal nuclear furnace.

Messier 4 is relatively close to us, lying 7200 light-years distant, making it a prime object for study. It contains tens of thousands of stars and is noteworthy in being home to many white dwarfs — the cores of ancient, dying stars whose outer layers have drifted away into space.

In July 2003, Hubble helped make the astounding discovery of a planet called PSR B1620-26 b, 2.5 times the mass of Jupiter, which is located in this cluster. Its age is estimated to be around 13 billion years — almost three times as old as the Solar System. It is also unusual in that it orbits a binary system of a white dwarf and a pulsar (a type of neutron star).

Amateur stargazers may like to track Messier 4 down in the night sky. Use binoculars or a small telescope to scan the skies near the orange-red star Antares in Scorpius. Messier 4 is bright for a globular cluster but it won’t look anything like Hubble’s detailed image: it will appear as a fuzzy ball of light in your eyepiece.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA 

About the Image

Id:eso1235d
Type:Observation
Release date:5 September 2012, 12:00
Related releases:eso1235
Size:4165 x 4132 px

About the Object

Name:M 4, Messier 4, NGC 6121
Type:• Milky Way : Star : Grouping : Cluster : Globular
• X - Stars
• X - Star Clusters
Constellation:Scorpius

Image Formats

Large JPEG
13.1 MB
Screensize JPEG
632.5 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
616.7 KB
1280x1024
991.1 KB
1600x1200
1.4 MB
1920x1200
1.7 MB
2048x1536
2.4 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):16 23 35.46
Position (Dec):-26° 31' 29.47"
Field of view:3.49 x 3.46 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 9.5° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
B
435 nmHubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
V
606 nmHubble Space Telescope
ACS
Infrared
I
814 nmHubble Space Telescope
ACS

 

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