Hubble clicks pics of 'mysterious' globular cluster Messier 15.
This glittering cluster contains over 100,000 stars, and could also hide a rare type of black hole at its center.
This multi-colored firework display is a cluster of stars known as Messier 15, located some 35,000 light-years away in the constellation of Pegasus (The Winged Horse). It is one of the oldest globular clusters known, with an age of around 12 billion years.
Very hot blue stars and cooler golden stars are seen swarming together in this image, becoming more concentrated towards the cluster's bright center. Messier 15 is one of the densest globular clusters known, with most of its mass concentrated at its core.
Astronomers studying the cluster with Hubble in 2002 found there to be something dark and mysterious lurking at its heart. It could either be a collection of dark neutron stars, or an intermediate-mass black hole. Of the two possibilities it is more likely that Messier 15 harbors a black hole at its center, as does the massive globular cluster Mayall II.
As well as this black hole, Messier 15 is known to house a planetary nebula, Pease 1 -- and it was the first globular known to contain one of these objects. This nebula is visible as the bright blue object just to the left of the cluster's center. ( ANI )
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