Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Omega Centauri: The Brightest Globular Cluster
Posted on 05/01/2013 3:47:21 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: This huge ball of stars predates our Sun. Long before humankind evolved, before dinosaurs roamed, and even before our Earth existed, ancient globs of stars condensed and orbited a young Milky Way Galaxy. Of the 200 or so globular clusters that survive today, Omega Centauri is the largest, containing over ten million stars. Omega Centauri is also the brightest globular cluster, at apparent visual magnitude 3.9 it is visible to southern observers with the unaided eye. Cataloged as NGC 5139, Omega Centauri is about 18,000 light-years away and 150 light-years in diameter. Unlike many other globular clusters, the stars in Omega Centauri show several different ages and trace chemical abundances, indicating that the globular star cluster has a complex history over its 12 billion year age.
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[Credit & Copyright: Joaquin Polleri & Ezequiel Etcheverry (Observatorio Panameño en San Pedro de Atacama)]
LOL that’s about it.
Cripplecreek... I could look at that picture for hours. So serene! So beautiful! You are a doll for sharing it with us!
One wonders, would a civilization inhabiting a planet circling one of the interior stars ever be aware of anything outside of their local cluster?
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
(I normally don’t use the New Living translation, but seemed appropriate for this picture)
Small problem with the article.
Omega Cent may not be a Globular Cluster. It seems that it is the core of a galaxy that has collided with the Milky Way and had most of everything stripped off of it.
The Wikipedia article explains better than I can.
It also has some good references to back it up.
That all being said, this is one object I look forward to seeing every spring. I live just far enough south that we can catch it clearing the trees on clear nights.
They’re not really as opaque as I led on. But from what I’ve heard, life could be impossible there anyway. For one thing, the stars are so crowded that they sometimes even merge, creating blue stragglers. But just a few near collisions would likely destabilize the orbits of any planets. For another, globular clusters are mostly population II stars, with low heavy elements. And they’re old stars, so any sun-like stars would have comparatively short life spans, and be dead now.
Thanks Conan the Librarian.
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