A colorful gathering of middle-aged stars

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The bright star cluster NGC 3532 covers an area of the sky that is almost twice the size of the Full Moon.

The MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile has captured a richly colorful view of the bright star cluster NGC 3532. Some of the stars still shine with a hot bluish color, but many of the more massive ones have become red giants and glow with a rich orange hue.

NGC 3532 is a bright open cluster located some 1,300 light-years away in the constellation Carina the Keel. It is informally known as the Wishing Well Cluster as it resembles scattered silver coins that have been dropped into a well. It is also referred to as the Football Cluster, although how appropriate this is depends on which side of the Atlantic you live. It acquired the name because of its oval shape, which citizens of rugby-playing nations might see as resembling a rugby ball.

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