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Thursday, 9 April, 1998, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Astronomers see 'jewel-box' in the sky
The Hubble space telescope spies stellar jewels
The Hubble Space Telescope has photographed a dazzling "jewel-box" of stars and pinpointed the rapidly fading ember of a burned-out star. The BBC's science correspondent David Whitehouse reports:

Hubble in Earth orbit
Hubble in Earth orbit
The Hubble is sending back some sensational images of the cosmos.

Orbiting above the Earth's turbulent and murky atmosphere it has an undistorted view of space.

The jewel-box of stars is star cluster NGC 1818 situated 164,000 light years away in a nearby companion galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).

The LMC is a place of vigorous star formation and makes an ideal place to study how stars are born.

A stellar ember, a rare white dwarf
A stellar ember, a rare white dwarf
The arrowed star is a so-called white dwarf, a fading ember of a burnt out star.

Astronomers believe that this was formed only very recently following the collapse of a red giant star.

Close-up showing hot young stars
Close-up showing hot young stars
There are more than 20,000 stars in NGC 1818. The blue-white stars are young, possibly only a million years old, with sizzling surface temperatures of 27,000 degrees Celsius.

See also:

25 Mar 98 | Sci/Tech
Hubble sees starbirth
01 Apr 98 | Sci/Tech
Astronomers see cosmic mirage
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