Two New Globular Star Clusters Discovered By VISTA


Where there once was 158, there is now more… Globular clusters, that is. Thanks to ESO’s VISTA survey telescope at the Paranal Observatory in Chile, the Via Lactea (VVV) survey has cut through the gas and dust of the Milky Way to reveal the first star cluster that is far beyond our center. But keep your eyes on the prize, because as dazzling as the cluster called UKS 1 is on the right is, the one named VVV CL001 on the left isn’t as easy to spot.

Need more? Then keep on looking, because VVV CL001 isn’t alone. The next victory for VISTA is VVV CL002, which is shown in the image below. What makes it special? It’s quite possible that VVV CL002 is the closest of its type to the center of our galaxy. While you might think discoveries of this type are commonplace, they are actually out of the ordinary. The last was documented in 2010 and it’s only through systematically studying the central parts of the Milky Way in infrared light that new ones turn up. To add even more excitement to the discovery, there is a possibility that VVV CL001 is gravitationally bound to UKS 1, making it a binary pair! However, without further study, this remains unverified.

This image from VISTA is a tiny part of the VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) survey that is systematically studying the central parts of the Milky Way in infrared light. In the centre lies the faint newly found globular star cluster, VVV CL002. This previously unknown globular, which appears as an inconspicuous concentration of faint stars near the centre of the picture, lies close to the centre of the Milky Way. Credit: ESO/D. Minniti/VVV Team

Thanks to the hard work of the VVV team led by Dante Minniti (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile) and Philip Lucas (Centre for Astrophysics Research, University of Hertfordshire, UK) we’re able to feast our eyes on even more. About 15,000 light years away on the other side of the Milky Way, they’ve turned up VVV CL003 – an open cluster. Due the intristic faintness of these new objects, it’s a wonder we can see them at all… In any light!

Original Story Source: ESO Press Release.

6 Replies to “Two New Globular Star Clusters Discovered By VISTA”

  1. Yo Tammy, at the second paragraph, there’s a superfluous “is” in the seventh line:
    “[…], there is a possibility is that […]”

    Also, at the last paragraph, there’s a rogue “i” in front of “led” in the first line:
    “[…] the VVV team iled by […]”

  2. Tammy, I feel certain that Ivan would volunteer to proof read each article prior to publication and gratis of course. Don’t you think?

    1. LOL! believe it or not, the eagle-eyed ivan actually missed an instance of “the the” that i quickly wrestled to the ground and fixed.

      for what it’s worth, i write these articles in my email program which points out spelling errors – but not grammatical ones. ivan’s good-natured corrections make me look closely at the draft before publishing (and even after), but there’s times when i just can’t “see” a mistake for some reason.

      you can bet i’ll be asking if he’ll help on my next book! his ability to spot errors is uncanny. (and i can’t help but wonder if it makes it hard for him to read anything because of it.)

      1. Actually, I do read the article in question, which is why I missed that instance of “the the”; it must have been due to low caffeine level in my bloodstream!

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