Even from our limited view here on Earth we know that outer space is a place of vast emptiness. That knowledge is what makes this look at NGC 6380 all the more surreal.
This latest Hubble image share highlights the globular cluster that’s gone by many (and, as NASA notes, fairly boring) names since its existence was first recorded in 1826. The actual sight of NGC 6380 is anything but boring, however.
Look at this marvelous starscape….
That bright, blue showstopper at the top of the image isn’t actually part of NGC 6380. The globular cluster, which is a spherical formation of stars held together by gravity, is 35,000 light-years from Earth. Our blue friend, a star dubbed HD 159073, is much closer at only (lol) 4,000 light-years away.
Like most things that live in deep space, our knowledge of NGC 6380 is limited by what we can observe from our great distance. It’s part of the Scorpio constellation — yes, this mess of stars is just a single point of light to our puny, naked human eyes. But as you can see above, it’s absolutely stunning when we zoom in for a closer view.
Images like this are only possible because Hubble is still functional. The 30-plus year old satellite is drawing close to the end of its life, what with the James Webb Space Telescope set to launch late in 2021. Hubble’s operations were even interrupted back in June when the satellite’s onboard computer stopped working, but that issue thankfully appears to be fixed.
So enjoy this view of deep space, compliments of Earth’s very best eye in the sky (for now).