Pictures of the Omega Centauri globular cluster
Facts about the Omega Centauri globular cluster, one of the oldest objects in the Universe.
The Omega Centauri globular cluster is a beautiful, ancient collection of gravitationally bound stars that can be seen in the Southern Hemisphere sky.
Also known as NGC 5139, it is a fine example of a globular cluster, which are some of the oldest objects in the Universe.
The Omega Centauri globular cluster is located about 17,000 lightyears away from Earth and contains up to 10 million stars, some as old as 12 billion years. The Universe itself, by comparison, is 13.8 billion years old.
It is thought to contain a supermassive black hole at its centre, 40,000 times the mass of the Sun.
Under good, dark conditions away from light pollution, the Omega Centauri globular cluster can be seen with the naked eye, but binoculars and even a small telescope will start to reveal its true, glittering beauty.
It's reported that the great astronomer Ptolemy observed Omega Centauri, and it was eventually designated as a globular cluster in the 19th century by John Frederick William Herschel (son of William Herschel).
Today astronomers know that Omega Centauri is one of the most massive of the roughly 200 globular clusters thought to be orbiting our Galaxy.
Below is a selection of images of the Omega Centauri globular cluster captured by astrophotographers and BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers.