Featured Image: Star Clusters in M51

This beautiful mosaic of images of the Whirlpool galaxy (M51) and its companion was taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope. This nearby, “grand-design spiral” galaxy has a rich population of star clusters, making it both a stunning target for imagery and an excellent resource for learning about stellar formation and evolution. In a recent study, Rupali Chandar (University of Toledo) and collaborators cataloged over 3,800 compact star clusters within this galaxy. They then used this catalog to determine the distributions for the clusters’ ages, masses, and sizes, which can provide important clues as to how star clusters form, evolve, and are eventually disrupted. You can read more about their study and what they discovered in the paper below.


Rupali Chandar et al 2016 ApJ 824 71. doi:10.3847/0004-637X/824/2/71