Featured Image: Nuclear Star Clusters in Virgo

This collection of images (click for the full view) from the Hubble Space Telescope reveals the nuclear star clusters of early-type galaxies located in the Virgo cluster. These dense clusters of stars are only ~10 light-years in size, and they have been found to lie at the core of galaxies throughout the universe. A recent study led by Chelsea Spengler (University of Victoria, Canada) presents an analysis of 39 of these nuclei and their hosts in the Virgo cluster, exploring the masses, metallicities and ages of the nuclei. The authors used their observations to better understand how nuclei form: are they the result of smaller star clusters falling to the center of their host galaxies and merging? Or were they formed in situ from gas funneled into the galactic centers? To learn more about what the authors discovered, check out the paper below.


Chelsea Spengler et al 2017 ApJ 849 55. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/aa8a78