Hubble rocks with a heavy-metal home
This 10.5-billion-year-old globular cluster, NGC 6496, is home to heavy-metal stars of a celestial kind! The stars comprising this spectacular spherical cluster are enriched with much higher proportions of metals—elements heavier than hydrogen and helium are curiously known as metals in astronomy—than stars found in similar clusters.
|NGC 6496 [Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Judy Schmidt]|
The nature of the variability of these stars can reveal important information about their mass, radius, luminosity, temperature, composition, and evolution, providing astronomers with measurements that would be difficult or even impossible to obtain through other methods.
NGC 6496 was discovered in 1826 by Scottish astronomer James Dunlop. The cluster resides at about 35,000 light-years away in the southern constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion).
Source: NASA [June 03, 2016]