Hint of planet-sized drifters bewilders Hubble scientists (WFPC2 view)

Esahubble_heic0107b_500

esahubble_heic0107b June 27th, 2001

Credit: NASA, ESA & K. Sahu (STScI)

This image shows the globular cluster M22 as seen with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's workhorse instrument, the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. A team of American and European astronomers has studied the cluster in search for traces of short-lived brightening, due to an effect called microlensing, of faint stars in the background (too faint to be seen in this representation). Seven microlensing events were seen: one 'normal' event where a dwarf star in M22 passed in front of a background star, and six short events strongly suggesting the existence of 'free-floating' planet-sized objects in M22. If confirmed these planets would be the smallest detected which are not orbiting any star. M22, also known as NGC 6656, is the brightest globular cluster visible from the Northern hemisphere and it is an easy naked eye object. The 12 to 14 billion year old cluster is about 8, 500 light years distant and about 65 light years across. Its angular diameter is 24 arc minutes or almost the size of the full Moon. This Hubble view measures about 3 light years across.

Image Source: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic0107b/

Curator: ESA/Hubble, Garching bei München, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Messier 22 NGC 6656
Subject - Milky Way
Star » Grouping » Cluster » Globular
Esahubble_heic0107b_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 18h 36m 22.7s
DEC = -23° 53’ 52.6”
Orientation
North is 49.7° CCW
Field of View
1.3 x 1.5 arcminutes
Constellation
Sagittarius

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_red Hubble Space Telescope (WFPC2) Infrared (I) -
Arrow_left_green Hubble Space Telescope (WFPC2) Optical (Pseudogreen (V+I)) -
Arrow_left_blue Hubble Space Telescope (WFPC2) Optical (V) -
Esahubble_heic0107b_1280
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ID
heic0107b
Subject Category
B.3.6.4.2  
Subject Name
Messier 22, NGC 6656
Credits
NASA, ESA & K. Sahu (STScI)
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic0107b/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Distance in light years from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2004.07599.x/full
Facility
Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope
Instrument
WFPC2, WFPC2, WFPC2
Color Assignment
Red, Green, Blue
Band
Infrared, Optical, Optical
Bandpass
I, Pseudogreen (V+I), V
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
279.094493243, -23.8979519611
Reference Dimension
800.0, 880.0
Reference Pixel
400.0, 440.0
Scale
-2.75938294668e-05, 2.75938294668e-05
Rotation
49.660000000000011
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
ESA/Hubble
URL
http://www.spacetelescope.org/
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
ESA/Hubble
Publisher ID
esahubble
Resource ID
heic0107b
Metadata Date
2003-12-09T17:04:44+01:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.