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VLT/MUSE spectroscopy suggests a central intermediate mass black hole in globular cluster NGC 6397

5 Feb 2016, 19:50 UTC
VLT/MUSE spectroscopy suggests a central intermediate mass black hole in globular cluster NGC 6397
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Two new papers appearing today on the astro-ph preprint server have highlighted the capabilities of a new instrument at ESO/VLT, the Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer, MUSE. Studying the velocity dispersion of stars in the globular cluster NGC 6397, astronomers infer a central black hole of some six hundred solar masses. They have also been able to construct the first complete spectroscopic HR diagram for a globular cluster, using nearly 19000 stellar spectra. Image: Antilhue/Chile; astrosurf.com, 14.5″ mirror, prime focus f/9. From the abstracts: (Paper I/Paper II)

We demonstrate the high multiplex advantage of crowded field 3D spectroscopy using the new integral field spectrograph MUSE by means of a spectroscopic analysis of more than 12,000 individual stars in the globular cluster NGC 6397. The stars are deblended with a PSF (point spread function) fitting technique, using a photometric reference catalogue from HST as prior, including relative positions and brightnesses. This catalogue is also used for a first analysis of the extracted spectra, followed by an automatic in-depth analysis using a full-spectrum fitting method based on a large grid of PHOENIX [theoretical model] spectra. With 18,932 spectra from 12,307 stars in NGC 6397 we have analysed the largest sample so far available ...

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