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News Release Archive:

News Release 262 of 951

July 10, 2008 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2008-25

What's My Age? Mystery Star Cluster Has 3 Different Birthdays

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Image: White Dwarf Stars in Open Cluster NGC 6791

White Dwarf Stars in Open Cluster NGC 6791STScI-PRC2008-25

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

In studying the dimmest burned-out stars in globular star cluster NGC 6791, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered a paradox: three different populations of stars exist in an object where all the stars should have formed at the same time out of an interstellar cloud of gas and dust.

[Left] — This is a ground-based telescopic view of NGC 6791, located 13,300 light-years away in the constellation Lyra. The green inset box shows the view with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys.

[Top right] — The full Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys field is full of stars estimated to be 8 billion years old. Two background galaxies can be seen at upper left.

[Bottom right] — A blow up of view of a small region of the Advanced Camera for Surveys field reveals very faint white dwarfs. The blue circles identify hotter dwarfs that are 4 billion years old. The red circles identify cooler dwarfs that are 6 billion years old.

Object Name: NGC 6791

Image Type: Astronomical/Illustration

Credit: NASA, ESA, Digitized Sky Survey, and L. Bedin (STScI)

NEWS RELEASE IMAGES

The above montage includes these images:

NGC 6791: Digitized Sky Survey View Image Type: Astronomical NGC 6791: Digitized Sky Survey View NGC 6791: Full Hubble ACS Field Image Type: Astronomical NGC 6791: Full Hubble ACS Field Small Region of ACS Field Reveals Faint White Dwarfs Image Type: Astronomical Small Region of ACS Field Reveals Faint White Dwarfs

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