Star cluster glitters in new Hubble Space Telescope photo

An incredibly densely packed field of stars can be seen.
The globular cluster Terzan 2 in the constellation Scorpio can be seen in this observation from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. (Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Cohen)

On the heels of the first James Webb Space Telescope images shared last week, the Hubble Space Telescope has released yet another stunning view of the cosmos. 

The new Hubble image captures a globular cluster named Terzan 2, which is located in the Scorpius constellation. Globular clusters are densely packed collections of hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of ancient stars that help shed light on the history of the universe.

 "The intense gravitational attraction between the closely packed stars gives globular clusters a regular, spherical shape," European Space Agency officials said in a statement. "As a result, images of the hearts of globular clusters, such as this observation of Terzan 2, are crowded with a multitude of glittering stars."  

Related: The best Hubble Space Telescope images of all time! 

The recent Hubble image, which the ESA shared on July 11, was captured using the space telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys and its Wide Field Camera 3. Hubble detects light from distant astronomical objects, which is then reflected off its secondary mirror to smaller mirrors that direct the light into individual instruments. 

"Each of the four operational instruments on Hubble is a masterpiece of astronomical engineering in its own right, and contains an intricate array of mirrors and other optical elements to remove any aberrations or optical imperfections from observations, as well as filters which allow astronomers to observe specific wavelength ranges," ESA officials said in the statement. "The mirrors inside each instrument also correct for the slight imperfection of Hubble's primary mirror. The end result is a crystal-clear observation, such as this glittering portrait of Terzan 2." 

The recent observations of Terzan 2 look similar to another globular cluster called Terzan 9, which is located in the constellation Sagittarius near the center of the Milky Way. Hubble's view of Terzan 9, which the ESA shared on June 13, shows a glittering star-studded scene resembling a "treasure chest crammed with gold," according to a statement from the space agency. 

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Samantha Mathewson
Contributing Writer

Samantha Mathewson joined as an intern in the summer of 2016. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, in Connecticut. Previously, her work has been published in Nature World News. When not writing or reading about science, Samantha enjoys traveling to new places and taking photos! You can follow her on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13.