A sparkly beehive of stars


Globular clusters are swarms of hundreds of thousands of stars held together by their mutual gravity. This is an unusual view of M55, one such cluster: it's by ESO's VISTA, an infrared telescope, which highlights older, cooler stars.

The red stars you see are very old red giants, stars at the ends of their lives, soon to blow off their outer layers and become white dwarfs; dense, hot cinders that will fade away as the Universe ages. It's the fate of the stars in these clusters, as it is the fate of the Sun someday, so be glad we're here now to revel in pictures like this while these fantastic objects still exist.
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