<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Omega centauri.

Two Images of the Globular Cluster Omega Centauri. Panel (a), on the left, shows a ground-based image of Omega Centauri as a large sphere of thousands of stars that is so dense that the central region appears as an indistinct patch of light. Panel (b), on the right, shows a high-resolution H S T image of the central region, showing dozens of bright red and blue stars amidst a background of thousands of fainter yellow stars.
(a) Located at about 16,000 light-years away, Omega Centauri is the most massive globular cluster in our Galaxy. It contains several million stars. (b) This image, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, zooms in near the center of Omega Centauri. The image is about 6.3 light-years wide. The most numerous stars in the image, which are yellow-white in color, are main-sequence stars similar to our Sun. The brightest stars are red giants that have begun to exhaust their hydrogen fuel and have expanded to about 100 times the diameter of our Sun. The blue stars have started helium fusion. (credit a: modification of work by NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); credit b: modification of work by NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team)

What would it be like to live inside a globular cluster? In the dense central regions, the stars would be roughly a million times closer together than in our own neighborhood. If Earth orbited one of the inner stars in a globular cluster, the nearest stars would be light-months, not light-years, away. They would still appear as points of light, but would be brighter than any of the stars we see in our own sky. The Milky Way would probably be difficult to see through the bright haze of starlight produced by the cluster.

About 150 globular clusters are known in our Galaxy. Most of them are in a spherical halo (or cloud) surrounding the flat disk formed by the majority of our Galaxy’s stars. All the globular clusters are very far from the Sun, and some are found at distances of 60,000 light-years or more from the main disk of the Milky Way. The diameters of globular star clusters range from 50 light-years to more than 450 light-years.

Open clusters

Open clusters are found in the disk of the Galaxy. They have a range of ages, some as old as, or even older than, our Sun. The youngest open clusters are still associated with the interstellar matter from which they formed. Open clusters are smaller than globular clusters, usually having diameters of less than 30 light-years, and they typically contain only several dozen to several hundreds of stars ( [link] ). The stars in open clusters usually appear well separated from one another, even in the central regions, which explains why they are called “open.” Our Galaxy contains thousands of open clusters, but we can see only a small fraction of them. Interstellar dust, which is also concentrated in the disk, dims the light of more distant clusters so much that they are undetectable.

Jewel box (ngc 4755).

The Open Cluster N G C 4755. This open cluster, known as the “Jewel Box,” contains many bright white and blue stars as well as a bright yellow supergiant near the center.
This open cluster of young, bright stars is about 6400 light-years away from the Sun. Note the contrast in color between the bright yellow supergiant and the hot blue main-sequence stars. The name comes from John Herschel’s nineteenth-century description of it as “a casket of variously colored precious stones.” (credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky)

Although the individual stars in an open cluster can survive for billions of years, they typically remain together as a cluster for only a few million years, or at most, a few hundred million years. There are several reasons for this. In small open clusters, the average speed of the member stars within the cluster may be higher than the cluster’s escape velocity, Escape velocity is the speed needed to overcome the gravity of some object or group of objects. The rockets we send up from Earth, for example, must travel faster than the escape velocity of our planet to be able to get to other worlds. and the stars will gradually “evaporate” from the cluster. Close encounters of member stars may also increase the velocity of one of the members beyond the escape velocity. Every few hundred million years or so, the cluster may have a close encounter with a giant molecular cloud, and the gravitational force exerted by the cloud may tear the cluster apart.

Several open clusters are visible to the unaided eye. Most famous among them is the Pleiades ( [link] ), which appears as a tiny group of six stars (some people can see even more than six, and the Pleiades is sometimes called the Seven Sisters). This cluster is arranged like a small dipping spoon and is seen in the constellation of Taurus, the bull. A good pair of binoculars shows dozens of stars in the cluster, and a telescope reveals hundreds. (A car company, Subaru, takes its name from the Japanese term for this cluster; you can see the star group on the Subaru logo.)

The Hyades is another famous open cluster in Taurus. To the naked eye, it appears as a V-shaped group of faint stars marking the face of the bull. Telescopes show that Hyades actually contains more than 200 stars.

Stellar associations

An association    is a group of extremely young stars, typically containing 5 to 50 hot, bright O and B stars scattered over a region of space some 100–500 light-years in diameter. As an example, most of the stars in the constellation Orion form one of the nearest stellar association s. Associations also contain hundreds to thousands of low-mass stars, but these are much fainter and less conspicuous. The presence of really hot, luminous stars indicates that star formation in the association has occurred in the last million years or so. Since O stars go through their entire lives in only about a million years, they would not still be around unless star formation has occurred recently. It is therefore not surprising that associations are found in regions rich in the gas and dust required to form new stars. It’s like a brand new building still surrounded by some of the construction materials used to build it and with the landscape still showing signs of construction. On the other hand, because associations, like ordinary open clusters, lie in regions occupied by dusty interstellar matter, many are hidden from our view.

Key concepts and summary

Star clusters provide one of the best tests of our calculations of what happens as stars age. The stars in a given cluster were formed at about the same time and have the same composition, so they differ mainly in mass, and thus, in their life stage. There are three types of star clusters: globular, open, and associations. Globular clusters have diameters of 50–450 light-years, contain hundreds of thousands of stars, and are distributed in a halo around the Galaxy. Open clusters typically contain hundreds of stars, are located in the plane of the Galaxy, and have diameters less than 30 light-years. Associations are found in regions of gas and dust and contain extremely young stars.

Questions & Answers

How long the duration was when the laws of physics became active after the big bang?And why the time is called plank's time?
Mostak Reply
how many galaxies in universe?
Shaikh Reply
10 to the power 11
Wwe
testing
Ahmad
thnx
Shaikh
if u can count all the sands on the beaches and on the deserts then u will know how much it will be.......some said more than 1,000,000,000 galaxies are there in our universe...
Gospel
it's ok bro
Wwe
I hope you will become a member of nasa
Wwe
just new in this area, from art background not science
Ahmad
what's ur name wwe
Shaikh
The Observable Universe Contains Between 200 Billion To 2 Trillion Galaxies.....
Adam
are u sure?
Caleb
It actually hasn't been proven, people have just made estimations.
Ariana
the thing is u can't count,maybe the our number system will collapse there...who knows?
Abdullah
What's the exact time when the laws of physics became active after the big bang ?
Mostak
Actually we still don't know the exact number of galaxies in the universe, since the universe is bigger than we can imagine and it is still expanding even bigger today than yesterday
Ismaee
hi i need a telescope would you help mee
Nauman Reply
i can only advice you to go to some museum
Gospel
wher is it?
Nauman
but before that.......... i wanna know where are you from and from which state...and if you are nearer to that of the museum or will be able to go then.,.. i donot have any more words.
Gospel
What Do Plan To Observe?
Adam
sorry . i am from asia
Nauman
Check on amazon.Celeston telescopes are good for beginners.
priyanshu
can yoy introduce your self
Nauman
can you
Nauman
Asia...? from which country you belong into ...,,is it India or where?
Gospel
Do You Want A Telescope With ALot Of Maintenance Or Zero Maintenance?
Adam
pakistan
Nauman
with alot offf
Nauman
Any second hand online stores in your area? great for unused Christmas gifts etc..
Collins
So You Want A Newtonian Reflector?
Adam
So what i would put for that answer ?
Abdulla Reply
The largest observatory complex in the world is on Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain on Earth. Whatare some factors astronomers consider when selecting an observatory site? Don’t forget practical ones.Should astronomers, for example, consider building an observatory on Denali (Mount McKinley) or MountEverest?
Abdulla Reply
i need help on the the second part
Abdulla
Should astronomers for example considered building an observatory on Denali (Mount Mckinley) or MountEverest ?
Abdulla
I would take into consideration. climate weather pattern.
basim
also, could an establishment be built and be able to sustain years of being beaten by the weather?
basim
so far Mount Everest to my understanding is a difficult mountain
basim
it is because of light pollution in the cities that the observatories are situated in extremely remote areas.
Ashish
Everest ist the tallest mountain
Paul
how far us milky way galaxy?
ShowsSpy Reply
oh man
madison
We are part of the Milky Way Galaxy. We are within it, so it's not really away from us. Our galaxy is 100,000 light years in diameter. The nearest big galaxy is Andromeda, around 2 million lightyears away.
Jignesh
its 200,000 light years
Gospel
Where is Rice University located?
Amanda Reply
it is in your vagina
world
that couldn't be any more wrong 😂😂
jay
what even is this conversation😂😂!?
Herrera
Show Some Class.....
Adam
Houston, Texas.....
Adam
Houston
Preston
what is the first step to take as far as getting into the field of astronomy?
john Reply
how are universe made up of?
madhu Reply
saksi
madhu
lanika
madhu
I think that your question is- What is the universe made up of?
priyanshu
Ever heard of matter?
priyanshu
Well,the universe is made up of matter and possibly antimatter
priyanshu
Actually,it's made up of matter's smaller units,fundamental particles
priyanshu
But for normal purposes,say that it's made of matter
priyanshu
If you're asking how was the universe made,
priyanshu
there are several theories,but the widely accepted one is the 'Big Bang Theory'.
priyanshu
In simple words,a veeeeeeery long time ago (20 billion years).
priyanshu
The universe was just inside a very small point.
priyanshu
Then,it started to expand.
priyanshu
It is still expanding today
priyanshu
But remember,it's just a theory,there is no hard and fast proof
priyanshu
oh d*mn😭😭😭😭 i cant do my astronomy quest
swagirl
up Down quarks atoms electrons proton neutrons
Blake
😭😭😭😭..
swagirl
it's come at Guran in soorat Alrahman that Allah say we made the all universe in 8 day.hope u will get your answer.
Tanvir
All Our Evidence Points To The Big Bang Theory, Like The Cosmic Microwave BackgGround, Left Over Radiation From The Big Bang.....
Adam
13.8 Billion Years Ago A Singularity Expanded.....
Adam
usually in astronomy quest there's many math formula. i'm difficult on them
swagirl Reply
practice!
Collins
?
swagirl
what was the question? if you need any help CrashCourse/astronomy and physics channel on YouTube are a good help.
Collins
yeah like... you know venn diagram?
swagirl
yeah it's for sets
Vinit
***youtu.be/uR70knMr2Hg
Collins
this might help you understand Venn diagram. and yes they're sets of numbers.
Collins
tx for u
swagirl
why the dark side of moon never face us? because moon dont rotate? why tho
Rishabh Reply
im in 8th standard and my school teach us nothing about astronomy but i want to be an astronomer so i study from youtube and apps like this but sometimes i get language problems
Rishabh
dark**
Glory
side**
Glory
The Moon does actually rotate. It takes 27 days for the Moon to make a full rotation. Because it takes it so long and the Earth is rotating around the sun, it seems like the Moon is pretty much standing still. That's called "synchronous rotation".
steveh259
I ment to say "The Earth is orbiting around the sun"
steveh259
Tidal Locked.....
Adam
***svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4442
Collins
thats cool
Gospel
ya gives you a look at how the moon orbits around us too and a perspective of how fast we are going. also gives the moon phases for the year! enjoy 😁
Collins
yes you are absolutely correct, it just like something like the milk of heaven
Subhasish
the far side of the moon is not the dark side of the moon.
Shawn
Tidal Locking?
priyanshu
what phases of the moon occurs when spring tide?
Florence Reply
the moon has a 28 day cycle. you can download a moon calander or follow the pattern and make your own calendar. 1st full moon of the year 21/22nd Jan, its also a blood moon and a wolf moon. if this info helps at all. 😊
Collins
***svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4442
Collins
How to determine the velocity of light?
PARTHIB Reply
using this formula c=1/√absolute permeability×absolute permittivity of free space i.e. c=1/√8.854×10^-12×4π×10^-7~3×10^8ms^-1
Vidyashankar
what is mean by Big Bang
block Reply
What it means by Big Bang is how the world was made and came in to exist
Glory
The Big Bang Is The Best Explanation For What We See Around Us, And For The Origin Of The Universe, All Our Evidence Points To The Big Bang Theory..... And Was Proposed By A Belgian Priest.....
Adam
if the big bang theory is really true than i would like to know what exploded and where did it came from and where did the energy came from and where come from for the matter to expand into amd where did the organization come from and where did the information come from.........
Gospel
Some say that on the otherside of the singularity was a black hole. They say that at the other end of all black holes is another universe. Hence the multiverse. It's all theoretical at this point but less than a 100 years ago people believed that there was only 1 galaxy in the universe. So why
Rafael
should there be only 1 universe?
Rafael
universe.
Rafael
Big Bang is a theory on the origin of the universe.It says that the whole universe started as an infinitely dense and hot point,which expanded with time to form the universe in which we live today.
priyanshu
but if you study about string theory then you will come to know that before big bang there were string ( vibrating particles) which cause to form the conditions for big bang.
YOG
Hmm,actually,I dont know much about string theory,just a little.I just wanted to tell this guy what is the Big Bang Theory.
priyanshu
and according to string theory black holes are giant fuzzball of strings,there is no infinity dense singularity and no smooth horizon there is just only a ball of string
YOG
I think that is the problem. why don't we ask what was before the big bang. to explode there must be a reason or a change so if there is change there must be time also. science can't solve this . never . unless it accepts the existence of God . it is a matter of scientists will accept God. and every
KUMNEGER
For those arguing Religious Dogma over Science, regarding the Origins of the Universe, as well as the Origin of Man... Please pick up and read a Chemistry Book first, particularly in regard to Atomic Structure, Composition & the creation of other Elements from the Periodic Table... To start with.😉
Bill
Next you can look up the terms... Potential Difference, particularly associated with Electrical Charge or Energy & the Transfer of electrons from the outer Valence Shell of an Atom...and the production of ENERGY or Electrical Charge and Heat...😉😁😎
Bill
You should now begin to see the dots connecting themselves, from a scientific perspective, pretty quickly...😉😁😎
Bill
is astronomy a hard subject to learn because i want to be an astronomer
FNAF Reply
No it not it just takes time and effort to learn
Glory
if your already interested/observing, your already an astronomer ! The more you look and read the more you'll learn.
Collins
I want to become a scientist but my knowledge is very low. How I can improve my knowledge?
Wwe
any form of science courses, there's free crash course channel on you tube. I've learned alot from this channel. covers most topics, science: biology chemistry physics, astronomy, ranges to anatomy, history and many many more. it's a never ending subject!
Collins
suggest a channel as a example
Wwe
CrashCourse is the name of the channel and there is a picture of an apple. look through their play lists. They will have other related channels they follow also.
Collins
thank you so much
Wwe
your very welcome
Collins
No actually astronomy is a very interesting subject and it's not so hard if you'll make research and read some books you'll find it so simple
Ismaee
to become a actually astronomer you need to learn physics and after that you can take job of astronomy
Sir
Which books should I read as a beginner?
Aditya
Practice Key Terms 3

Get the best Astronomy course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Astronomy. OpenStax CNX. Apr 12, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11992/1.13
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Astronomy' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask