Messier 13 in Hercules

Hubble Space Telescope image of Messier 13

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Messier 13 is the brightest example in the northern skies of a Globular Cluster, an assembly of hundreds of thousands of stars. Hundreds of these clusters surround all spiral galaxies like our own Milky Way. Most of these clusters were born in the very early formation of their parent galaxies, making their stars among the oldest in the Universe.

Current Cornell Research

Astronomer Eric Lagadec studies the giant, pulsating stars which will soon end their lives as Planetary Nebulae. His interest is in the production of dust which returns to space some of the nuclear ashes generated during the stars' lives. Without previous generations of stars enriching the Universe with this material, the Earth -- and us -- could not have formed.
Astronomer Greg Sloan studies dust in the atmospheres of stars and in the space between the stars. Much of the dust comes from stars which are either ending their lives as planetary nebulae or about to do so. Greg played a significant role in the Spitzer Space Telescope mission, partially led by a Cornell team, which provided a new and more sensitive view of dust in the universe.

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