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News Release Archive:

News Release 156 of 949

May 25, 2011 02:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2011-16

NASA's Hubble Finds Rare Blue Straggler Stars in the Milky Way's Hub

An American Astronomical Society Meeting Release

May 25, 2011: Peering deep into the star-filled, ancient hub of our Milky Way (left), NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has found a rare class of oddball stars called blue stragglers. This is the first time such objects have been detected within our galaxy's bulge. Blue stragglers are so named because they seem to be lagging behind in their rate of aging compared with nearby older stars.

The discovery is a spin-off from a seven-day-long survey conducted in 2006 called the Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search (SWEEPS). Hubble peered at and obtained variability information for 180,000 stars in the crowded central bulge of our galaxy, 26,000 light-years away.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, W. Clarkson (Indiana University and UCLA), and K. Sahu (STScI)