100,000 stars bonded by gravity in a spherical shape hundreds of light-years across
Space news (February 19, 2016) – 20,000 light-years away in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion) –
Astronomers using the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 onboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope recently took this image of globular cluster Terzan 1. Just one of around 150 globular clusters that are part of the Milky Way, the red stars in this image are some of the oldest stars in our galaxy.
Astrophysicists study globular clusters in order to learn more about the early stages of the formation and evolution of the Milky Way. It also allows them to understand more about the formation and evolution of galaxies around the cosmos in general.
Astronomers also detect X-ray sources in Terzan 1, they believe emanate from binary star systems containing a dense neutron star and a normal star. They are currently studying these sources to understand and learn more about X-ray emissions and binary star systems.
Take the amazing journey of the Hubble Space Telescope here.
Learn more about the Milky Way, the galaxy you live in, here.
Learn more about globular clusters here.
Read about the things astronomers have discovered about binary star systems here.
Astronomers say this monster was one of the biggest galaxy clusters of its time
Space news (November 07, 2015) – 8.5 billion light-years away in a remote part of the cosmos –
NASA astronomers conducting a survey of galaxy clusters using the Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) recently viewed one of the biggest galaxy clusters ever recorded. Called Massive Overdense Object (MOO) J1142+1527, this monster galaxy cluster is in a very distant part of the universe and existed around 4 billion years before the birth of Earth.
8.5 billion years have passed since the light seen in the image above reached us here on Earth. MOO J1142+1527 has grown bigger during this time as more galaxies were drawn into the cluster and become even more extreme as far as galaxy clusters go.Containing thousands of galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of individual suns, galaxy clusters like this are some of the biggest structures in the cosmos.
“It’s the combination of Spitzer and WISE that lets us go from a quarter billion objects down to the most massive galaxy clusters in the sky,” said Anthony Gonzalez of the University of Florida in Gainesville, lead author of a new study published in the Oct. 20 issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
“Based on our understanding of how galaxy clusters grow from the very beginning of our universe, this cluster should be one of the five most massive in existence at that time,” said co-author Peter Eisenhardt, the project scientist for WISE at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Astronomers conducting this survey will now spend the next year sifting through more than 1,700 more galaxy clusters detected by the combined power of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer looking for the largest galaxy clusters in the cosmos. Once they find the biggest galaxy clusters in the universe, they’ll use the data obtained to investigate their evolution and the extreme environments they’re found.
“Once we find the most massive clusters, we can start to investigate how galaxies evolved in these extreme environments,” said Gonzalez.
You can learn more about the mission of the Spitzer Space Telescope here.
One of the largestglobular clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud
Space news (September 20, 2015) – 160,000 light-years from Earth toward the constellation Dorado –
Held in the grip of its own gravity, globular cluster NGC 1783 orbits the Milky Way as part of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a region of space filled with star-forming regions like the Tarantula Nebula and LHA 120-N 11.
Lying in the southern hemisphere constellation Dorado, the typical symmetrical form and dense collection of suns near the center of NGC 1783 was first recorded by John Herschel around 1835.
Astrophysicists studied the color and brightness of individual suns within globular cluster NGC 1783 to estimate its age and history of star formation. Measurements indicate that despite its typical distribution of stars and shape this larger star cluster is only about 1.5 billion years old and during its lifespan has undergone at least two-star forming periods separated by 50 to 100 million years. Typically globular clusters viewed are several billion years of age.
The highs and lows of star formation in a globular cluster gives astrophysicists an indication of the density of gas available for new stars to form during its life span. During periods when dense gas is available for star formation, the most massive stars explode as supernovae, blowing away the gas needed for new stars to form. The reservoir of gas for new star formation is then replenished by less massive stars which live longer and die less violently. Once the reservoir of gas flows to denser, central regions of a star cluster, the second phase of star formation takes place, and a massive star with a short life spans once again blow off the gas. Astrophysicists think this cycle continues until the gas leftover can no longer sustain the formation of new stars.
In the battle between celestial masses, greater mass means a bigger pull, and usually survival of the more massive body
Space news (April 28, 2015)
– A cosmic mystery unfolds 43,000 light years away in globular cluster NGC 6388
NASA space scientists studying the source of x-rays emanating from a globular cluster on the edge of the Milky Way are on the trail of a cosmic mystery.
Evidence seems to indicate x-rays were created as hot gas was drawn into the intermediate-mass black hole space scientists believe resides at the center of globular cluster NGC 6388.
Taking a closer look at data obtained using the European Space Agency’s INTErnational Gamma-Ray Laboratory (INTEGRAL), and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Explorer revealed the x-rays emanated from a location slightly off to one side of the center of NGC 6388.
Where does this cosmic mystery lead?
Space scientists looking at theoretical simulations and the data obtained observing the x-ray source for 200 days now believe x-rays were created as a planet, one-third the mass of Earth, was ripped apart as it came to close to a white dwarf star roughly the size of our planet.
How could a body the size of Earth pull apart a planet estimated to be one-third the mass?
A white dwarf star is the remnant of a medium-mass star, similar to our own Sun. In this case, space scientists estimate the white dwarf star was about 1.4 times the mass of our Sun, which means its surface gravity would be over 10,000 times stronger.
As a body thirty-three percent of the mass of Earth travels near a white dwarf star with a surface gravity of this magnitude, space scientists simulations indicate the difference in gravitational forces between the far and near side of the body creates gravitational tides that are greatly enhanced due to the nearness and magnitude of gravitational forces involved.
Space scientists indicate computer simulations suggest a planet would be first pulled away from its parent star due to the gravitational force created by the dense concentration of stars near the center of globular cluster NGC 6388.
If this planet were to pass near a white dwarf star with a mass close to the one in this news story, computer simulations indicate it could be torn apart by extreme tidal forces created as it passes.
The planetary debris created is then heated and glows in x-rays as it falls into the gravitational field of the white dwarf.
In this case, the observed amount of x-rays is as computer simulations indicate should be detected, so space scientists think they’re at least on the right trail. They’re now going over the data obtained and conducting new experiments to eliminate other possible x-ray sources.
For more information on NASA’s space mission visit here.
Learn more about the Chandra X-ray Observatory here.
Discover more about the mission of the European Space Agency’s INTErnational Gamma-Ray Laboratory (INTEGRAL) here.
For more information concerning the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Explorer visit here.