|The name "Omega Centauri" should hint that this particular cluster
is quite special. As viewed from Earth, Omega Cen (as it is often
called) is certainly one of the most dazzling of globular clusters that
orbits our galaxy. Before the use of good telescopes (and optics) this cluster
was known as a "star" in the constellation of Centaurus (and hence the name).
However, under a dark sky this cluster certainly hints at more. It takes on
the appearence of fuzzy patch of light- not unlike many other closer star
clusters (M41, M44, M35, etc). However, at a distance of 20,000 lights years
away, it is only due to the sheer number of stars- easily more than 500,000-
that we can see it this easily. A telescopic view reveals the sparkling
glitter shown to the left. From Kitt Peak, this cluster barely climbs more
than 10 degrees above the horizon. As such, the image quality isn't
great- but the overall impression of this cluster is maintained. Interestingly,
Omega Cen is one of the few clusters that is currently passing directly through
the plane of our galaxy.
|L R G B color production was used to create this image.||
Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
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