Ancient Planet in a Globular Cluster Core (artist's impression)

A rich starry sky fills the view from an ancient gas-giant planet in the core of the globular star cluster M4, as imagined in this artist's concept. The 13-billion-year-old planet orbits a helium white-dwarf star and the millisecond pulsar B1620-26, seen at lower left. The globular cluster is deficient in heavier elements for making planets, so the existence of such a world implies that planet formation may have been quite efficient and common in the early universe.


NASA/ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Release date:10 July 2003, 20:00
Size:3000 x 2400 px

About the Object

Name:Messier 4, NGC 6121
Type:Milky Way : Planet
Milky Way : Star : Grouping : Cluster : Globular
Distance:5500 light years
Category:Solar System

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