November 26, 2009

Zooming In On Terzan 5

Peering through the thick dust clouds of our galaxy’s central parts (the “bulge”) with an amazing amount of detail, a team of astronomers has revealed 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 very early days. This video zooms in onto the cluster, starting from a wide view of the central parts of our home galaxy, and finishing with an amazing near-infrared image obtained with the Multi-conjugate Adaptive Optics Demonstrator (MAD) instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Credit: ESO/S. Guisard/Digitized Sky Survey 2/F. Ferraro

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