Artist’s impression of the thin stream of stars torn from the Phoenix globular cluster, wrapping around our Milky Way (left). For the study, the astronomers targeted bright Red Giant stars, to measure the chemical composition of the disrupted Phoenix globular cluster (artist’s impression on right). Credit: James Josephides (Swinburne Astronomy Productions) and the S5 Collaboration.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
29 July 2020
SCIENTISTS FIND REMNANT OF STRANGE DISMEMBERED STAR CLUSTER AT GALAXY’S EDGE
Flagstaff, AZ. – An international team of astronomers, including Lowell Observatory’s Dr. Kyler Kuehn, has discovered the remnant of an ancient collection of stars that was torn apart by our own galaxy, the Milky Way, more than two billion years ago.
The extraordinary discovery of this shredded ‘globular cluster’ is surprising, as the stars in this galactic archaeological find have much lower quantities of heavier elements than in other such clusters. The evidence strongly suggests the original structure was the last of its kind, a globular cluster whose birth and life were different from those remaining today.
Our Galaxy is home to about 150 globular clusters, each a ball of a million or so stars that orbit in the Galaxy’s tenuous stellar halo. These globular ...