-- NASA has released an image taken by the Hubble space telescope of a cluster of stars in a neighboring galaxy.
Its name -- NGC 121 -- may be prosaic, but the image is spectacular.
This so-called globular cluster is in a galaxy known as the Small Magellanic Cloud, which, at a distance of about 200,000 light-years, is one of the Milky Way's closest neighbors. Click here for the high-resolution image.
"[In] recent years it has been studied in detail by astronomers wishing to learn more about how stars form and evolve," NASA said in its description of the image.
"With an object like NGC 121, which lies close to the Milky Way, Hubble is able to resolve individual stars and get a very detailed insight," NASA added.
NGC 121 is about 10 billion years old, making it the oldest globular cluster in the Small Magellanic Cloud, NASA said.
The image was taken using Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS).