Hubble Catches Cosmic Snowflakes

Almost like Cosmic snowflakes, the stars of the globular cluster NGC 6441 sparkle peacefully in the night sky, about 13,000 light-years from the Milky Way’s galactic center.

Like snowflakes, the exact number of stars in such a cluster is difficult to discern

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It is estimated that together the stars have 1.6 million times the mass of the Sun, making NGC 6441 one of the most massive and luminous globular clusters in the Milky Way.

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NGC 6441 is host to four pulsars that each complete a single rotation in a few milliseconds Cosmic snowflakes. Also hidden within this cluster is JaFu 2, a planetary nebula. Despite their name, planetary nebulas have little to do with planets. A phase in the evolution of intermediate-mass stars, planetary nebulas last for only a few tens of thousands of years, the blink of an eye on astronomical timescales.

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There are about 150 known globular clusters in the Milky Way. Globular clusters contain some of the first stars to be produced in a galaxy, but the details of their origins and evolution still elude astronomers.

Originally Publish at: https://www.nasa.gov/

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