Washington: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has detected a stunning image of a huge collection of ageing stars, believed to be 10 billion-years-old.
This rich and dense smattering of stars is a massive globular cluster, a gravitationally bound collection of stars that orbits the Milky Way, the US space agency said in a statement.
Globular clusters are denser and more spherical than open star clusters like the famous Pleiades. They typically contain hundreds of thousands of stars that are thought to have formed at roughly the same time.
The hundreds of thousands of stars within the NGC 6139 are believed to have been formed over 10 billion years ago, the report said.
As a result, they contain some of the oldest stars in our galaxy, formed very early in the galaxy's history.
However, their role in galactic evolution is still a matter of study.
This cluster is seen roughly in the direction of the centre of the Milky Way, in the constellation of Scorpius (the Scorpion).
This constellation is a gold mine of fascinating astronomical objects.
Astronomers have used Hubble to track "Scorpius" many times to observe objects such as the Butterfly Nebula, surprising binary star systems, and other dazzling globular clusters, the report noted.
Earlier this month, Hubble also revealed the most comprehensive, high-resolution ultraviolet-light survey of nearby star-forming galaxies.