Hubble telescope observes the cluster NGC 2660

(ORDO NEWS) — This brilliant group of stars, shining in the dark like sparks left by fireworks, is the cluster NGC 2660, which is located in the constellation of the Vela. It is best seen in the southern sky.

NGC 2660 is an open cluster that can contain tens to hundreds of stars that are weakly bound together by gravity.

Stars in open clusters form from the same region of gas and dust and thus share many characteristics, such as age and chemical composition.

Unlike globular clusters, open clusters are easier to study because it is easier for astronomers to distinguish between individual stars.

Their stars may be old or young, and they may dissipate after a few million years into spiral or irregular galaxies.

Many of the stars in this image are surrounded by diffraction streaks, which occur when the glow from bright points of light reflects off the Hubble secondary mirror support.

The bright red object on the left, with very visible diffraction streaks, is a foreground star that is not part of the cluster.

Hubble observed this open cluster as part of a program to study the age of white dwarfs in open clusters.


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