Mysterious New Type of Star Cluster Carries Extra Baggage


http://earthchangesmedia.com/mysterious-new-type-of-star-cluster-carries-extra-baggage
Astronomers studying the globular star clusters orbiting the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A (NGC 5128) have stumbled upon a fascinating discovery — the clusters are too massive.

What does this mean? Well, it could be that each of the dozens of clusters studied are packed with dark matter o…

Astronomers studying the globular star clusters orbiting the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A (NGC 5128) have stumbled upon a fascinating discovery — the clusters are too massive.

centaurus-a-elliptical-galaxy

What does this mean? Well, it could be that each of the dozens of clusters studied are packed with dark matter or may even by hiding a massive black hole, but neither of the explanations make any sense.

Globular star clusters are ancient ensembles of thousands of stars that can be found orbiting galaxies like our Milky Way. Their study is critical to help us understand how galaxies on the whole evolve as the stars they are known to contain are often as old as the galaxies they orbit.

“Globular clusters and their constituent stars are keys to understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies. For decades, astronomers thought that the stars that made up a given globular cluster all shared the same ages and chemical compositions — but we now know that they are stranger and more complicated creatures,” said Matt Taylor, a PhD student at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, and lead author of the study.

Using the FLAMES instrument on the ESO’s Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, Taylor and his team surveyed 125 of the around 2,000 globular clusters in orbit around Centaurus A and gauged their masses. Usually, the mass of a globular cluster can be derived by measuring their brightness. The brighter the cluster, the more stars it has and the more massive it is.

As expected, for the most part, this brightness-mass relationship held true. But something strange started to emerge from the data — some of the clusters were more massive than the brightness data suggested. What’s more, the more massive these strange clusters were, the greater the fraction of their mass was dark.

Naturally, the researchers’ suspicions are focusing on these clusters amassing a reservoir of dark matter. But globular star clusters are not thought to contain significant quantities of invisible stuff. Perhaps, therefore, these islands of stars have massive black holes in their cores, or maybe a massive graveyard of other stellar corpses, like the burnt-out husks of stars like neutron stars? For now, where this extra baggage comes from remains mystery.

“Our discovery of star clusters with unexpectedly high masses for the amount of stars they contain hints that there might be multiple families of globular clusters, with differing formation histories. Apparently some star clusters look like, walk like, and smell like run-of-the-mill globulars, but there may quite literally be more to them than meets the eye,” added co-author Thomas Puzia, also at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.

To widen the search, the researchers are now carrying out a survey of other globular clusters around other galaxies in the hope of finding more of these mysterious “dark clusters.”

“We have stumbled on a new and mysterious class of star cluster! This shows that we still have much to learn about all aspects of globular cluster formation. It’s an important result and we now need to find further examples of dark clusters around other galaxies,” concluded Taylor.

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About Earth Changes Media w/ Mitch Battros

Mitch Battros is a scientific journalist who is highly respected in both the scientific and spiritual communities due to his unique ability to bridge the gap between modern science and ancient text. Founded in 1995 – Earth Changes TV was born with Battros as its creator and chief editor for his syndicated television show. In 2003, he switched to a weekly radio show as Earth Changes Media. ECM quickly found its way in becoming a top source for news and discoveries in the scientific fields of astrophysics, space weather, earth science, and ancient text. Seeing the need to venture beyond the Sun-Earth connection, in 2016 Battros advanced his studies which incorporates our galaxy Milky Way - and its seemingly rhythmic cycles directly connected to our Solar System, Sun, and Earth driven by the source of charged particles such as galactic cosmic rays, gamma rays, and solar rays. Now, "Science Of Cycles" is the vehicle which brings the latest cutting-edge discoveries confirming his published Equation.
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