Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 17:30 EDT

Latest Globular cluster Stories

2010-10-26 10:20:00

The globular star cluster Omega Centauri has caught the attention of sky watchers ever since the ancient astronomer Ptolemy first catalogued it 2,000 years ago. Ptolemy, however, thought Omega Centauri was a single star. He didn't know that the "star" was actually a beehive swarm of nearly 10 million stars, all orbiting a common center of gravity. The stars are so tightly crammed together that astronomers had to wait for the powerful vision of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to peer deep into...

2010-09-09 15:02:58

Bad news for planet hunters: most of the "hot Jupiters" that astronomers have been searching for in star clusters were likely destroyed long ago by their stars. In a paper accepted for publication by the Astrophysical Journal, John Debes and Brian Jackson of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., offer this new explanation for why no transiting planets (planets that pass in front of their stars and temporarily block some of the light) have been found yet in star clusters. The...

2010-06-21 08:45:09

For the first time, a team of astronomers has succeeded in investigating the earliest phases of the evolutionary history of our home Galaxy, the Milky Way. The scientists, from the Argelander Institute for Astronomy at Bonn University and the Max-Planck Institute for Radioastronomy in Bonn, deduce that the early Galaxy went from smooth to clumpy in just a few hundred million years. The team publish their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Led by...

2010-06-02 09:20:00

By exploiting the exquisite image quality of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and comparing two observations made ten years apart astronomers have, for the first time, managed to measure the tiny motions of several hundred young stars within the central cluster of the star-forming region NGC 3603. The team was surprised to find that the stars are moving in ways that are at odds with the current understanding of how such clusters evolve. The stars in the cluster have not "settled down" as...

2010-06-01 11:30:00

Astronomers often turn their telescopes to the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), one of the closest galaxies to our own Milky Way, in their quest to understand the Universe. In this spectacular new image from the Wide Field Imager (WFI) at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile, a celestial menagerie of different objects and phenomena in part of the LMC is on display, ranging from vast globular clusters to the remains left by brilliant supernovae explosions. This fascinating observation provides...

2010-03-04 09:15:32

Located half a billion light-years from Earth, ESO 306-17, is a large, bright elliptical galaxy in the southern sky of a type known as a fossil group. Astronomers use this term to emphasize the isolated nature of these galaxies. However, are they like fossils "” the last remnants of a once active community "” or is it more sinister than that? Did ESO 306-17 gobble up its next-door neighbors? Gravity brings galaxies together and bigger ones swallow smaller ones. There is evidence...

2010-02-23 09:55:00

Around a quarter of the globular star clusters in our Milky Way galaxy are invaders from other galaxies, according to a team of scientists from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. In a paper accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Swinburne astronomer Professor Duncan Forbes has shown that many of our galaxy's globular star clusters are actually foreigners - having been born elsewhere and then migrated to our Milky Way.  "It turns out...

2010-02-18 09:50:00

Imagine finding a living dinosaur in your backyard. Astronomers have found the astronomical equivalent of prehistoric life in our intergalactic backyard: a group of small, ancient galaxies that has waited 10 billion years to come together. These "late bloomers" are on their way to building a large elliptical galaxy. Such encounters between dwarf galaxies are normally seen billions of light-years away and therefore occurred billions of years ago. But these galaxies, members of Hickson Compact...

2009-12-23 14:20:00

Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have uncovered two distinct kinds of "rejuvenated" stars in the globular cluster Messier 30. A new study shows that both stellar collisions and a process sometimes called vampirism are behind this cosmic "face lift". The scientists also uncover evidence that both sorts of blue stragglers were produced during a critical dynamical event (known as "core collapse") that occurred in Messier 30 a few billion years ago. Stars in globular...

2009-11-25 12:30:00

Peering through the thick dust clouds of our galaxy's "bulge" (the myriads of stars surrounding its center), and revealing an amazing amount of detail, a team of astronomers has unveiled an unusual mix of stars in the stellar grouping known as Terzan 5. Never observed anywhere in the bulge before, this peculiar "cocktail" of stars suggests that Terzan 5 is in fact one of the bulge's primordial building blocks, most likely the relic of a proto-galaxy that merged with the Milky Way during its...

Latest Globular cluster Reference Libraries

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Star Cluster -- Star clusters are physically bound systems of stars. In order of low compactness to high compactness (and in some sense also age) they range from stellar associations to open clusters to globular clusters. Star clusters are held together by the gravitation of their members. Due to both external (encounters with massive objects, influence of the host galaxy) and internal (encounters with other cluster members, stellar evolution) influences, clusters slowly evaporate. Their...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Globular Cluster -- A globular cluster is a cluster of stars that is spherical in shape and extremely dense towards its core. Globular clusters are usually composed of hundreds of thousands of old stars, similar to the bulge of a spiral galaxy but confined to a volume of only a few cubic parsecs. Some globular clusters (like Omega Centauri in our Milky Way, and G1 in M31) are truly massive clusters, with several million times the mass of our Sun. Such globular clusters may be the...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Galaxy -- Stars are almost always found in collections called galaxies, together with gas, dust, and large amounts of dark matter detected by its gravitational effects. These are all held together by gravitational attraction and orbit a common centre. There is some evidence that black holes may exist at the centre of some or most galaxies. Galaxies come in three main types: ellipticals, spirals, and irregulars. A slightly more extensive description of galaxy types is given by the Hubble...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Virgo A Galaxy -- Discovered 1781 by Charles Messier. The giant elliptical galaxy M87, also called Virgo A, is one of the most remarkable objects in the sky. It is perhaps the dominant galaxy in the closest big cluster to us, the famous Virgo Cluster of galaxies (sometimes also called "Coma-Virgo cluster" which is more acurate, as it extends into constellation Coma), and lies at the distance of this cluster (about 60 million light-years). M87 lies well in the heart of the Virgo cluster...

2004-10-19 04:45:40

Milky Way Galaxy -- The Milky Way (a translation of the Latin Via Lactea, in turn derived from the Greek Galaxia (gala, galactos means "milk")) is a hazy band of white light across the night sky formed by billions of stars in the disc of our galaxy. The Milky Way appears brightest in the direction of Sagittarius, where the galactic centre lies. Relative to the celestial equator, the Milky Way passes as far north as the constellation of Cassiopeia and as far south as the constellation of...

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