NASA has released an image of the globular cluster Terzan 2 in the constellation Scorpio captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Stable, tightly bound clusters of tens of thousands to millions of stars are called globular clusters and they are found across a variety of galaxies. They get their regular, spherical shape from the intense gravitational attraction between the closely packed stars. As you can see in the image, globular clusters have hearts crowded with a multitude of glittering stars.
Hubble took the image using both its Advanced Camera for Surveys and its Wide Field Camera 3, taking advantage of the complementary capabilities of these instruments. Hubble’s design allows the use of multiple instruments to inspect astronomical objects despite having only one primary mirror. Light from distant astronomical objects enters the telescope’s 2.4-metre primary mirror. The primary mirror then reflects the light into the depths of the telescope where the smaller mirror directs the light into individual instruments.
The new image captured by Hubble looks remarkably similar to the image of Terzan 9 captured earlier this year. Despite looking very similar, Terzan 2 and Terzan 9 are in different parts of the sky as we see it from Earth. Terzan 2 is in the Scorpio constellation while Terzan 9 is in the Sagittarius constellation.
Earlier this week, Hubble captured a “galactic gem”: the CGCG 396-2 galaxy merger, which is an uncommon multi-armed galaxy merger that is 520 million light-years away from Earth in the direction of the constellation Orion. The observation of the galaxy merger was first made by volunteers who are part of the Galaxy Zoo citizen science project.
NASA had also released the first series of images from the more advanced James Webb Space Telescope, which is also further away from Earth than the Hubble Telescope, being situated in the second Lagrange point. The first set of images from Webb showed everything from the “cliffs of star formation” and the presence of water on a distant exoplanet to the “cosmic dance” of black holes and galaxies and the death throes of a star at the end of its life.