Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2001 December 10
Explanation: Stars, like bees, swarm around the centre of bright globular cluster M15. This ball of over 100,000 stars is a relic from the early years of our Galaxy, and continues to orbit the Milky Way's centre. M15, one of about 150 globular clusters remaining, is noted for being easily visible with only binoculars, having at its centre one of the densest concentrations of stars known, and containing a high abundance of unusual variable stars and pulsars. The above image, taken in ultraviolet light with the WIYN Telescope, spans about 120 light years and shows the gradual increase in stars toward the cluster's centre. M15 lies about 35,000 light years away toward the constellation of Pegasus. Recent evidence indicates that a massive black hole might reside as the centre of M15.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.