Astronomy Picture of the Day

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.

February 21, 1996

Millions of Stars in Omega Centauri
Credit: P. Seitzer (U. Michigan)

Explanation: Pictured above is the largest ball of stars in our Galaxy. About 10 million stars orbit the center of this globular cluster - named Omega Centauri - as this giant globular cluster orbits the center of our Galaxy. Recent evidence indicates that Omega Centauri is by far the most massive of the about 160 globular clusters in the Milky Way. The stars in globular clusters are generally older, redder and less massive than our Sun. Studying globular clusters tells us about the history of our Galaxy and the age of the universe.

Tomorrow's picture: Apollo 15's Home on the Moon

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
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