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Above and Beyond: Star Cluster Pismis 24

This video shows a small cluster of stars, Pismus 24, with the brightest star, Pismus 24-1. It took high-resolution images from Hubble to show that Pismus 24-1 was really two stars orbiting each other.

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach.
All images, illustrations, and videos courtesy of NASA, ESA, and STScI except:
·       Taurus constellation drawing from Firmamentum Sobiescianum sive Uranographia by Johannes Hevelius, courtesy of the United States Naval Observatory
·       Winter Circle star field image created with Stellarium
·       Omega Centauri ground-based image courtesy of F. Lehman (South Florida Dark Sky Observers)
·       Photo of night sky at twilight courtesy of ESO/H. H. Heyer
·       Milky Way star field photo courtesy of ESO/C. Malin
·       Orion Nebula 3D animation courtesy of ESO/M. Kornmesser
·       Star formation animation courtesy of NCSA/NASA/A. Kritsuk and M. Norman (UC San Diego) and A. Boley (Univ. of Florida)
·       Photo of the Milky Way over the Austrian Alps copyright Babak A. Tafreshi (TWAN)
Written by Vanessa Thomas
Designed by John Godfrey


 A glowing red and orange nebula. 

Text, HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE. Pismis 24. In a nebula 8,000 light-years from Earth resides a small cluster of stars called Pismis 24. 

A cluster of large bright stars above the nebula gas. 

Text, The brightest star in this image is called Pismis 24-1. 

It was once thought to be as massive as 200 to 300 suns. 

A dotted line encircles the center, brightest star in the cluster. 

Text, This would have made it the most massive star known in our galaxy. 

However, high-resolution images from the Hubble Space Telescope reveal that Pismis 24-1 is actually two stars orbiting each other. 

Each star is about a hundred times more massive than the Sun.