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A Globular Cluster's Striking Red Eye
RA 5h 44m 6.32s Dec -69° 10' 28.35"
150,000 light years
3.25 x 2.59 arcminutes
North is 27.6° left of vertical
ESA/Hubble & NASA
August 6, 2018
2004 image: S0437
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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:
This image shows the colorful globular cluster NGC 2108. The cluster is nestled within the Large Magellanic Cloud, in the constellation of the Swordfish (Dorado). It was discovered on December 16, 1835 by the astronomer, mathematician, chemist and inventor John Herschel, son of the famous William Herschel.
The most striking feature of this globular cluster is the gleaming ruby-red spot at the center left of the image. What looks like the cluster's watchful eye is actually a carbon star. Carbon stars are almost always cool red giants, with atmospheres containing more carbon than oxygen - the opposite to our Sun. Carbon monoxide forms in the outer layer of the star through a combination of these elements, until there is no more oxygen available. Carbon atoms are then free to form a variety of other carbon compounds, such as C2, CH, CN, C3 and SiC2, which scatter blue light within the star, allowing red light to pass through undisturbed.
image was captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera
for Surveys (ACS), using three different filters.