Nasa has released a stunning image of a brightly coloured ancient cluster containing more than 100,000 stars captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.
The image depicts Messier 5, or M5, and includes a quote from 18th century astronomer Charles Messier's catalogue of clusters and other nebulae that begins: "Beautiful Nebula discovered between the Balance [Libra] & the Serpent [Serpens].”
This description suggests Messier believed M5 was a nebula, a cloud of dust, hydrogen and other gases, when developments in observation technology later revealed it was actually a cluster of stars.
Nasa said: “Though it appeared to Messier to be fuzzy and round and without stars, Messier 5 (M5) is now known to be a globular star cluster, 100,000 stars or more.”
NASA: Space in pictures
NASA: Space in pictures
A false colour image of Cassiopeia A comprised with data from the Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes and the Chandra X-Ray observatory
The Barred Spiral Galaxy (NGC 6217) in the Ursa Minor constellation is pictured in Space
A team of astrophysicists has detected so-called gravitational waves – predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago – which are the first tremors of the Big Bang when time and space began about 13.7 billion years ago
Rex Features/Mood Board
The barred spiral galaxy M83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel. The Hubble photograph captures thousands of star clusters, hundreds of thousands of individual stars, and 'ghosts' of dead stars called supernova remnants
Acosmic creepy-crawly known as the Tarantula Nebula in infrared light
A spiral galaxy ESO 373-8 - together with at least seven of its galactic neighbours, this galaxy is a member of the NGC 2997 group
A massive galaxy cluster Abell 2744, according to NASA these are some of the faintest and youngest galaxies ever detected in space
A giant cloud of solar particles, a coronal mass ejection, explodes off the sun, lower right, captured by the European Space Agency and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
Current conditions of the quiet corona and upper transition region of the Sun
First color image of the Earth taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts in 1968
Fog forming over the the US Great Lakes area and streaming southeast with the wind. A swirling mass of Arctic air moved south into the continental United States
Astronaut Mike Hopkins, Expedition 38 Flight Engineer, is shown in the second of two spacewalks designed to allow the crew to change out a faulty water pump on the exterior of the Earth-orbiting International Space Station
The globular star cluster is bound by gravity and packed into a region around 165 light-years in diameter. It was discovered by German astronomer Gottfried Kirch in 1702 and lies some 25,000 light-years away from the Earth.
M5 is one of the oldest globulars and its stars are believed to be almost 13 billion years old, making it one of the oldest globulars to be associated with the Milky Way Galaxy.
“Even close to its dense core at the left, the cluster's aging red and blue giant stars and rejuvenated blue stragglers stand out in yellow and blue hues in the sharp color image”, Nasa added.
The Hubble Telescope was launched from the Kennedy Space Centre on 25 April, 1990 and celebrated its 24th year in orbit on Friday. The telescope's orbit outside of the Earth's atmosphere allows it to take high resolution images within almost no background light.