October 26, 1999: The Hubble telescope's sharp vision has clearly seen - for the first time - hot blue stars deep inside an elliptical galaxy. Hubble confirms that the ultraviolet light emanating from this galaxy comes from a population of extremely hot, helium-burning stars at a late stage in their lives. The swarm of nearly 8,000 blue stars resembles a blizzard of snowflakes near the core of the neighboring galaxy M32, 2.5 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Andromeda.See the rest:
Thirty years ago, astronomers assumed that old groups of stars were relatively cool and extremely faint, thus releasing very little ultraviolet light. Then, observations by ground-based telescopes indicated that elliptical galaxies - football-shaped objects comprising old stars - were surprisingly bright when viewed in ultraviolet light. Since then, indirect evidence has traced the "light" to populations of old, hot, helium-burning stars. Now Hubble has provided the first direct evidence.
After stars exhaust their supply of hydrogen - their main source of thermonuclear fuel - they begin converting helium to carbon through nuclear fusion. This brief interlude in a star's life begins its downward spiral that eventually leads to their demise.