Picture of the Day: Globular Clusters of Stars, From a Young Galaxy

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m72_hst_615.jpg

NASA

Big, hugely massive things tend to congeal into spheres. Earth, Jupiter, Mars: Every planet in our solar system is a sphere. Stars, too, are spheres. But what's not known is that stars themselves congeal into massive spheres, as well, forming what are called globular clusters.

Globular clusters are the hallmark of a young galaxy. M72 is one such galaxy and holds the cluster above. There are few clusters left in our own Milky Way -- around 200 -- but there used to be many thousands, and they ranged the galaxy until they were destroyed by contact with the galactic center. Which is kind of awesome.

More than 100,000 stars are in the cluster, in M72, above.

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Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

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