Hubble sees a swarm of ancient star clusters around a galaxy

Hubble sees a swarm of ancient star clusters around a galaxy
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows star clusters encircling a galaxy, like bees buzzing around a hive. The hive in question is an edge-on lenticular galaxy NGC 5308, located just under 100 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear).

Members of a galaxy type that lies somewhere between an elliptical and a , such as NGC 5308 are disk galaxies that have used up, or lost, the majority of their gas and dust. As a result, they experience very little ongoing star formation and consist mainly of old and aging stars. On Oct. 9, 1996, scientists saw one of NGC 5308's aging stars meet dramatic demise, exploding as a spectacular Type la supernova.

Lenticular galaxies are often orbited by gravitationally bound collections of hundreds of thousands of older stars. Called globular clusters, these dense collections of stars form a delicate halo as they orbit around the main body of NGC 5308, appearing as bright dots on the dark sky.

The dim, irregular galaxy to the right of NGC 5308 is known as SDSS J134646.18+605911.9.


Explore further

Image: Hubble captures NGC 4111

Provided by NASA
Citation: Hubble sees a swarm of ancient star clusters around a galaxy (2016, May 23) retrieved 17 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-05-hubble-swarm-ancient-star-clusters.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
47 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

May 23, 2016
Members of a galaxy type that lies somewhere between an elliptical and a spiral galaxy, lenticular galaxies such as NGC 5308 are disk galaxies that have used up, or lost, the majority of their gas and dust. As a result, they experience very little ongoing star formation and consist mainly of old and aging stars.


Pay no mind to the merger maniacs, else you will remain confused.

The globular clusters are the seeds of daughter galaxies to develop over time, thereby forming a new cluster of galaxies eventually. Our galaxy has a couple or more of these daughters already formed in the S. hemisphere sky. The clusters are ejected from the core of our galaxy, growing nautrally from within over time, not needing the fabled gas and dust originating mostly in the magic moment 14 BYrs ago. Each globular hosts an otherwise missing growing intermediate core star (black hole), that seeds the cluster itself with new star forming gas and dust. As the core grows, so too does the cluster.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more