“Million-Year Birth” –Hubble Captures Fiery Creation of a Giant Star Cluster

"A Million-Year Birth" --Hubble Captures Fiery Creation of a Giant Star Cluster

 

Most stars in the universe –including our life-giving Population 1, main-sequence Sun, one of more than 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, that formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago–are formed a massive star clusters created from the violent gravitational collapse of matter within a region of a large molecular cloud. These clusters are the building blocks of galaxies, but their actual formation from these dense clouds is a mystery.

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“Unknown Dark Object” –Burst an Enormous Hole in the Milky Way

ESA Black Hole Image

 

An enormous “something” more massive than a star, appears to have torn a hole in part of the Milky Way’s halo. The “dark substructure” was found in data from Gaia spacecraft observations—a mission producing the most detailed 3D map of our galaxy—with Harvard’s Ana Bonaca noticing a perturbation in a tidal stream. Bonaca is a leading authority on how the tidal field of the Milky Way galaxy disrupts globular clusters, and what the resulting debris can tell us about the underlying distribution of dark matter. (more…)

“Oldest Objects in the Universe” –Hubble Clues Solve Puzzle of Globular Galaxy Clusters

Old Globular Clusters

 

Our Milky Way Galaxy is surrounded by about 150 globular clusters, formed about 11.5 billion years ago, 2.3 billion years after the Big Bang and shortly before the rate of cosmic star formation reached its peak, 10 billion years ago –a period known as “cosmic high noon.” The largest numbers of globular clusters, over ten to twenty thousand, are found around giant galaxies at the centers of galaxy clusters that contain hundreds to thousands of galaxies bound together by gravity, infused by hot gas (up to ten times hotter than the center of the Sun) that far outweighs all the stars in the galaxies comprising the galaxy cluster combined.

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“Cosmic High Noon” –Will Ancient Globular Clusters Be First Place Intelligent Life is Identified?

 

M106 Globular Clusters

 

In January of 2016 we reported that “A globular cluster might be the first place in which intelligent life is identified in our galaxy,” according to Rosanne DiStefano of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). Globular star clusters are extraordinary in almost every way. They’re densely packed, holding a million stars in a ball only about 100 light-years across on average. They’re old, dating back almost to the birth of the Milky Way. And according to new research, they also could be extraordinarily good places to look for space-faring civilizations.

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“Stretching & Squashing Spacetime” –LIGO Gravitational-Wave Alerts Now Available to the Public

Merging Black Holes

 

Future Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) alerts may likely come from a globular cluster, with the closest cluster residing about 7,000 light years from Earth. When a gravitational wave transit the Milky Way, it stretches and squashes space-time, making pulsars and the Earth jiggle.

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