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Thousands of globular star clusters scattered between galaxies

6 Dec 2018, 11:09 UTC
Thousands of globular star clusters scattered between galaxies
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View larger. | Artist’s concept of the great round star clusters known as globular star clusters, scattered among galaxies of the Coma galaxy cluster. The Hubble Space Telescope found them during a survey. Studying them will let astronomers map dark matter in the huge galaxy cluster. Image via HubbleSite .
Our Milky Way galaxy’s globular star clusters are its oldest inhabitants. These clusters lie not in the flat plane of our galaxy, but instead are gravitationally bound to our galaxy in a great sphere centered on the galaxy’s center. These clusters are thought to have been left behind when a cloud of primordial gas and dust flattened out to make our spiral Milky Way. Today, amateur astronomers love to peer toward globular clusters because they’re beautiful and symmetrical, like big cosmic dandelions gone to seed (except the “seeds” are stars). We tend to think of globular clusters as bound to our Milky Way galaxy and another galaxy. So it’s surprising to hear of globular clusters scattered between galaxies in the Coma galaxy cluster, some 300 million light-years away.
A survey with the Hubble Space Telescope revealed the globular clusters in the Coma galaxy cluster. This cluster holds over 1,000 ...

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