An ancient cluster of stars against a stunning background

Among the myriad of stars in this image shines NGC 2257, a collection of cosmic gems bound tightly by gravity. Many billions of years old, but still sparkling brightly, it is an eye-catching astronomical object.

NGC 2257 is a globular cluster, the name given to the roughly spherical concentrations of stars that orbit galactic cores, but are often found far out from the centres in the halo areas of galaxies. Globular clusters contain very old stars, being typically over 10 billion years old, and can therefore be used like a "fossil record" to learn more about the Universe’s past. They are densely packed, with tens to hundreds of thousands of stars gathered within a diameter of just a few tens of light-years. NGC 2257 lies on the outskirts of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way. It is one of 15 very old globular clusters in the LMC.

The image is made from data taken with the Wide Field Imager instrument on the 2.2-metre MPG/ESO telescope at La Silla, in B, V and I filters, which are shown here in blue, green and red respectively. The field of view is approximately 20 by 20 arcminutes. These observations were made as part of the ESO Imaging Survey project, which was planned to make public imaging surveys to identify targets for follow-up observations with the Very Large Telescope.

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Om bilden

ID:potw1046a
Typ:Observation
Publiceringsdatum:15 november 2010 10:00
Storlek:4741 x 4741 px

Om objektet

Namn:NGC 2257
Typ:Local Universe : Star : Grouping : Cluster : Globular
Avstånd:170000 ljusår
Constellation:Dorado
Kategori:Stars

Bildformat

Originalstorlek
52,8 MB
Stor jpeg
8,1 MB
Skärmstor jpeg
287,8 kB

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Koordinater

Position (RA):6 30 12.11
Position (Dec):-64° 19' 36.95"
Field of view:18.80 x 18.80 arcminutes
Orientering:Nord är 0.0° höger om lodrätt

Färger och filter

BandVåglängdTeleskop
Synligt ljus
B
435 nmMPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope
WFI
Synligt ljus
V
551 nmMPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope
WFI
Infrarött
I
806 nmMPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope
WFI