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News Release Archive:

News Release 624 of 955

September 16, 1999 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1999-30

Hubble Spies Giant Star Clusters Near Galactic Center

September 16, 1999: Penetrating 25,000 light-years of obscuring dust and myriad stars, the Hubble telescope has provided the clearest view yet of a pair of the largest young clusters of stars inside our Milky Way Galaxy. The clusters reside less than 100 light-years from the very center of our galaxy.

Having an equivalent mass greater than 10,000 stars like our Sun, the monster clusters are 10 times larger than typical young star clusters scattered throughout our Milky Way. Both clusters are destined to be ripped apart in just a few million years by gravitational tidal forces in the galaxy's core. But in the brief time they are around, they shine more brightly than any other star cluster in the galaxy. The Arches Cluster is on the left; the Quintuplet Cluster on the right.

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Credit: Don Figer (Space Telescope Science Institute) and NASA