Pictures of the Omega Centauri globular cluster

Facts about the Omega Centauri globular cluster, one of the oldest objects in the Universe.

Globular cluster Omega Centauri is thought to contain about ten million stars. These ancient objects may not be as old as once thought. Credit: ESO

The Omega Centauri globular cluster is a beautiful, ancient collection of gravitationally bound stars that can be seen in the Southern Hemisphere sky.

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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.

NGC 5139 (Omega Centauri) by Ronald Piacenti Junior, Observatorio Norma, Brasilia-DF, Brazil. Equipment: OTA Celestron C6, HEQ5Pro Skywatcher mount, Canon T3i.
NGC 5139 (Omega Centauri) by Ronald Piacenti Junior, Observatorio Norma, Brasilia-DF, Brazil. Equipment: OTA Celestron C6, HEQ5Pro Skywatcher mount, Canon T3i.

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.

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For advice on imaging the night sky, read our guide to astrophotography, and don’t forget to send us your images or share them with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Omega Centauri. Credit: Robert Schulz, CCDGuide.com
Omega Centauri. Credit: Robert Schulz, CCDGuide.com
Omega Centauri by Richard Sass, Cloudcroft, New Mexico, USA. Equipment: Orion Astroview 120 telescope, Nikon D-3200.
Omega Centauri by Richard Sass, Cloudcroft, New Mexico, USA. Equipment: Orion Astroview 120 telescope, Nikon D-3200.
NGC 5139 by John Tipping, Algarve, Portugal. Equipment: Canon 700D 300mm lens, Optron SkyTracker Mount, f 5.6, Tungsten setting and light pollution filter.
NGC 5139 by John Tipping, Algarve, Portugal. Equipment: Canon 700D 300mm lens, Optron SkyTracker Mount, f 5.6, Tungsten setting and light pollution filter.
Omega Centauri by Dan Crowson, Animas, New Mexico, USA. Equipment: SBIG ST-8300M, Astro-Tech AT90EDT.
Omega Centauri by Dan Crowson, Animas, New Mexico, USA. Equipment: SBIG ST-8300M, Astro-Tech AT90EDT.
Omega Centaurus Globular Cluster by Ronald Piacenti Junior, Brasilia, DF, Brazil. Equipment: Celestron C6 Schmidt-Cassegrain, SkyWatcher HEQ5 Pro, Canon EOS T3i.
Omega Centaurus Globular Cluster by Ronald Piacenti Junior, Brasilia, DF, Brazil. Equipment: Celestron C6 Schmidt-Cassegrain, SkyWatcher HEQ5 Pro, Canon EOS T3i.
The Great Globular of the Southern Skies by Wellerson Lopes, São Paulo, Brazil. Equipment: Orion Atlas EQ-G, GSO Ritchey-Chretien Telescope 8
The Great Globular of the Southern Skies by Wellerson Lopes, São Paulo, Brazil. Equipment: Orion Atlas EQ-G, GSO Ritchey-Chretien Telescope 8″ F8, Canon 500D modified with Astrodon filter, Focal reducer Astro-Physics 67 CCDT, Guided with ASI120MM ZWO using OAG, Astronomik CLS clip filter
Omega Centauri or NGC 5139 by Ronald Piacenti Jr. Brasilia-DF, Brazil. Equipment: Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain (SCT) 150/1500 mm C6, SkyWatcher HEQ5 Pro, Canon EOS T3i, Focal reducer Celestron 0.63x 1.25
Omega Centauri or NGC 5139 by Ronald Piacenti Jr. Brasilia-DF, Brazil. Equipment: Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain (SCT) 150/1500 mm C6, SkyWatcher HEQ5 Pro, Canon EOS T3i, Focal reducer Celestron 0.63x 1.25″
Omega Centauri - NGC 5139 by Delberson Tiago de Souza, Silvânia, Goiás, Brazil. Equipment: Orion ED80, SkyWatcher HEQ5, QHY163M, Optolong LRGB filters
Omega Centauri – NGC 5139 by Delberson Tiago de Souza, Silvânia, Goiás, Brazil. Equipment: Orion ED80, SkyWatcher HEQ5, QHY163M, Optolong LRGB filters
Omega Centauri in LRGB by Haim Huli, Kibutz Ramat Hakovesh, Israel. Equipment: ASA 12'' F3.6 Astrograph, ASA DDM85, FLI Mono M8300
Omega Centauri in LRGB by Haim Huli, Kibutz Ramat Hakovesh, Israel. Equipment: ASA 12” F3.6 Astrograph, ASA DDM85, FLI Mono M8300
Omega Centauri by Fernando Oliveira De Menezes, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Equipment: Esprit 150mm triplet, Qhy 16200.
Omega Centauri by Fernando Oliveira De Menezes, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Equipment: Esprit 150mm triplet, Qhy 16200.