White dwarf stars in open cluster NGC 6791

In studying the dimmest burned-out stars in globular star cluster NGC 6791, the NASA/ESA 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.


NASA, ESA, and L. Bedin (STScI)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Release date:10 July 2008, 15:00
Size:3000 x 2400 px

About the Object

Name:NGC 6791
Type:Milky Way : Star : Grouping : Cluster : Globular
Distance:13000 light years
Category:Star Clusters

Image Formats

Large JPEG
2.7 MB
Screensize JPEG
528.1 KB

Colours & filters

606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope

Notes: Left image captured using a ground-based telescope.

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