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Section 5

Lightning bugs of the universe?

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Not exactly… In this Hubble Space Telescope image, galaxy NGC 4874 is the brightest object, located to the right of the frame and seen as a bright star-like core surrounded by a hazy halo. But the really remarkable feature of this image is the point-like objects around the galaxy. Revealed on a closer look: almost all of them are clusters of stars that belong to the galaxy. Each of them containing many hundreds of thousands of stars. NGC 4874 is a giant elliptical galaxy, about ten times larger than our own Milky Way. With its strong gravitational pull, it is able to hold onto more than 30,000 globular clusters of stars, more than any other galaxy that we know of, and even has a few dwarf galaxies in its grasp. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
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