Globular clusters

M5

With an age of 13 billion years, M5 is regarded as one of the oldest globular clusters; it is arguably also among the most beautiful     [Source]

Globular clusters are deep sky objects which, unlike open clusters, are found in the halo of galaxies. They are densely populated with as many as 1 million stars and are among the oldest objects within a galaxy. In fact, many of them have an age predating the galaxy itself. They appear spherical in shape—or “global”, hence their name.

The Milky Way has 157 known globular clusters considered to be its own (as of 2011). The distribution of these clusters is highly anisotropic relative to our vantage point in the Solar System, a characteristic picked up by American astronomer Harlow Shapley (1885 – 1972) in 1917. This asymmetric distribution spurred him to calculate the approximate distance to the center of the Milky Way (with the assumption that all globular clusters, on average, will be distributed homogeneously about the galactic center), ultimately disproving the previous common view that the Solar System was near the center of the galaxy.

The distribution of nearly all Messier/NGC/IC globular clusters in the Milky Way

The distribution of nearly all of the Messier/NGC/IC globular clusters in the Milky Way (the red dot denotes the Solar System’s position)    [Source]


Posts on globular clusters:

  • M2, in Aquarius
  • M3, in Canes Venatici
  • M4, in Scorpius
  • M5, in Serpens Caput
  • M9, in Ophiuchus
  • M10, in Ophiuchus
  • M12, in Ophiuchus
  • M13 (Great Hercules Cluster)
  • M14, in Ophiuchus
  • M15, in Pegasus
  • M19, in Ophiuchus
  • M22, in Sagittarius
  • M28, in Sagittarius
  • M30, in Capricornus
  • M53, in Coma Berenices
  • M54, in Sagittarius *
  • M55, in Sagittarius
  • M56, in Lyra
  • M62, in Ophiuchus
  • M68, in Hydra
  • M69, in Sagittarius
  • M70, in Sagittarius
  • M71, in Sagitta
  • M72, in Aquarius
  • M75, in Sagittarius
  • M79, in Lepus *
  • M80, in Scorpius
  • M92, in Hercules
  • M107, in Ophiuchus

* Extragalactic globular clusters

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