New finding about 8-billion-year-old cosmic blue bauble

New finding about 8-billion-year-old cosmic blue bauble
Messier 3. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, G. Piotto et al.

In a new study, researchers used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to discover new information about an 8-billion-year-old cosmic bauble, Messier 3.

Messier 3 is one of the largest and brightest globular clusters ever discovered. It contains incredible half-million stars.

Scientists continue to discover new variable stars in this sparkling stellar nest. So far 274 stars have been found, which is the highest number found in any globular cluster.

Among the 274 stars, at least 170 have a special variety called RR Lyrae variables, which pulse with a period directly related to their intrinsic brightness.

Scientists call these RR Lyrae variable stars standard candles because the stars have known luminosity and their distance and position can help understand more about vast celestial distances and the scale of the cosmos.

In addition, Messier 3 contains a relatively high number of so-called blue stragglers.

The new Hubble image shows them very clearly.

These blue stragglers are blue main sequence stars. Scientists suggest that they may be young because they are bluer and more luminous than other stars in the cluster.

Because all stars in globular clusters are thought to have formed together, they may be roughly the same age.

They may only have a difference in mass that gives these stars a different color.

Researchers found that a red, old star can look bluer when it acquires more mass. The extra mass changes it into a bluer star and makes it look younger.

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