What in the Universe: Stars

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What are the bright dots in this space telescope image? 

 Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and Sonoma State University. 

  • Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 6791: NASA, ESA, and L. Bedin (STScI) 
  • Ground-based image of NGC 6791: NASA, ESA, DSS, and L. Bedin (STScI)

Written by Claire Blome 
Designed by Dani Player 
Editorial and design input from Margaret W. Carruthers, Dr. Quyen Hart, Leah Ramsay, and Timothy Rhue II
Music courtesy of Music for Non-Profits 


 Red square against starry sky. Icons, star, galaxy, constellation, asteroid, solar system. Text, what in the universe? 

Image of bright dots in space. 

Text, What are these bright objects? A., stars, B., planets, C., galaxies, D., black holes. 

A is highlighted. 

Text, Open star cluster, NGC 6791, Lyra Constellation, 

Stars form in giant gas clouds. One interstellar cloud can contain enough material to form millions of stars, which is why they generally appear in large collections. 

This star cluster contains roughly 10,000 stars. 

These colorful points of light are recognizable as stars because each shines as a single point in the sky. 

Two spiral galaxies, which are located far beyond this star cluster, provide a nice contrast, making it easy to compare the difference between individual stars and the nearby galaxies, which are made up of billions of stars.