Featured Image: Globular Cluster Orbits

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This figure (click for the full view) shows the meridional galactic orbits of 12 globular clusters that orbit the Milky Way. The recent release of stellar parallax data from Gaia allowed a team of scientists at Dartmouth College to improve measurements of a number of galactic globular clusters — very old clusters of stars that can either orbit within the galactic disk and bulge or more distantly in the galactic halo. In a recent publication led by Erin O’Malley, the team presents their findings and combines their new measurements for the clusters with proper motions from past studies to calculate the orbits that these globulars take. These calculations show us whether the clusters reside in the galactic disk and bulge (as only NGC 104 does in the sample shown here, since its orbit is confined to 8 kpc radially and 4 kpc vertically of the galactic center), or if they are halo clusters. To learn more about the authors’ work, you can check out the paper below!

Citation

Erin M. O’Malley et al 2017 ApJ 838 162. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aa6574

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