HARVARD COLLEGE OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HARVARD COLLEGE OBSERVATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Optical photo of Omega Centauri (NGC 5139), one of the largest and brightest globular clusters in the Galaxy. Located 16, 500 light years away, Omega Centauri is 620 light years across and, with an age of 10, 000 million years, is one of the oldest globular clusters known. Globular clusters contain hundreds of thousands of stars and are found in a spherical halo around our Galaxy. Omega Centauri is unusual in that it is slightly elipsoidal whereas most globular clusters are spherical. This 45-minute exposure was taken with the 60 inch Rockerfeller reflector at the Boyden Station of Harvard College Observatory, South Africa.
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