Hubble shines a light on dimmest stars in the universe
Astronomers have captured rare images of the faintest stars in the galaxy - the burnt-out relics of ancient celestial objects that formed many billions of years ago.
The stars were photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope, which took the images by studying the same tiny patch of sky for more than 75 hours, gathering 378 overlapping images. They are the dimmest stars ever seen in a globular cluster - spherical concentrations of hundreds of thousands of stars - and they offer astronomers a valuable insight into the types of stars that existed in the early universe.
The images represent a stunning technological achievement, according to Professor Harvey Richer of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. "The light from these faint stars is so dim that it is equivalent to that produced by a birthday candle on the Moon," he said. "These stars, which died long ago, were among the first to have formed in the universe. Pinning down their age narrows down the age range of the universe."
The pictures show red dwarfs, which are powered by nuclear fusion, and white dwarfs, when the star has died and fusion has stopped. White dwarfs glow dimly for billions of years. He said many of the stars in this globular cluster, NGC 6397, - one of about 150 in the Milky Way galaxy - have run out of the hydrogen fuel that sustains nuclear reactions of ordinary stars such as the Sun.
The stars in the globular cluster NGC 6397, which is 8,500 light years away, are estimated to be nearly 12 billion years old, two billion years younger than the universe.
- 2 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 3 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 4 Cee Lo Green: It is only rape if the victim is conscious
- 5 Nigerian witch-finder Helen Ukpabio threatens legal action against human rights organisations
Emma Watson on Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak: 'Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated is reading the comments'
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say representatives
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Kate Upton nude photos leak: Model's spokespeople 'looking into' authenticity of indecent images
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£500 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, WPF, WCF, ASP.NET, Prism...
£8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job Creche Assistant to start asap ...
£8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job Nursery Nurse Leeds We are now ...
£55000 - £65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...