Countless stars at the core of a nearby star cluster look like glowing, multicolored orbs in a stunning new photo snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope.
The image shows the heart of a globular cluster called M4, which is found about 7,200 light-years from Earth — close enough to make it a prime target for astronomers to study.
M4 contains tens of thousands of stars, researchers said. The cluster hosts many white dwarfs, the leftover cores of old and dying stars whose outer layers have been shed into space.
Hubble has a history with M4. In July 2003, the telescope’s observations helped scientists discover an alien planet called PSR B1620-26 b in the cluster. The planet, which is about 2.5 times as massive as Jupiter, is thought to be about 13 billion years old. For comparison, our own solar system is just 4.5 billion years old.