Hubble captures cluster of dazzling diamond-like stars

Washington: The Hubble Space Telescope has captured an image of a glittering star cluster, resembling an opulent diamond tapestry, that contains a collection of some of the brightest stars seen in our Milky Way galaxy.

The cluster, called Trumpler 14, is located 8,000 light-years away in the Carina Nebula, a huge star-formation region, NASA said. Since, the cluster is only 500,000 years old, it has one of the highest concentrations of massive, luminous stars in the entire Milky Way, the researchers said.

However, these blue-white stars are burning their hydrogen fuel so ferociously that they will explode as supernovae in just a few million years, they said. The combination of outflowing stellar 'winds' and, ultimately, supernova blast waves will carve out cavities in nearby clouds of gas and dust.

These fireworks will kick-start the beginning of a new generation of stars in an ongoing cycle of star birth and death. The composite image of Trumpler 14 was made with data taken in 2005-2006 with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. Blue, visible, and infrared broadband filters combine with filters that isolate hydrogen and nitrogen emission from the glowing gas surrounding the open cluster.

Astronomers estimate that around 2,000 stars reside within Trumpler 14, ranging in size from less than one tenth to up to several tens of times the mass of the Sun. The most prominent star in Trumpler 14 is the super-giant HD 93129Aa. It is one of the most brilliant and hottest stars in our entire galaxy.

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