Detail View: NASA Hubble Space Telescope Collection: The Hubble Reveals the Evolving Core of a Dense Star Cluster

The Hubble Reveals the Evolving Core of a Dense Star Cluster
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What is an American Astronomical Society Meeting release? A major news announcement issued at an American Astronomical Society meeting, the premier astronomy conference. Astronomers today presented pictures taken with the Hubble Space Telescope of the heart of M15, a dense cluster of stars within our own Galaxy. The pictures show for the first time that M15 is in the process of recovering from a deep implosion of its core regions, caused by a massive gravitational instability. Many other star clusters may have experienced a similar collapse, in which their central stars crowd into a compact aggregate, causing a sharp rise in central density. This process may also happen in the dense centers of galaxies, where it may lead to the formation of massive black holes. The analysis of the Hubble images was presented by Dr. Tod R. Lauer of the National Gptical Astronomy Observatories, Tucson, Arizona, Dr. Jon A. Holtzman of Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona, Dr. Sandra M. Faber of Lick Observatory, Santa Cruz, California, and fellow members of the Hubble Wide Field/Planetary Camera imaging team, at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Read more: * Release Text [ ]
*Photo Credit:* NASA [ ]
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*Description*: This picture shows the central region of the globular cluster M15 as imaged by the Planetary Camera of the Hubble Space Telescope. M15 is a tightly bound cluster of about a million stars contained within our own galaxy. At the center of the image, the density of stars is roughly a million times what it is in our own part of the galaxy. Analysis of this image shows that M15 is now recovering from an implosion in which the stars in the cluster center collapsed into a dense aggregate. This image has been processed to remove the effects of spherical aberration. At the distance of M15, the region shown is 2.26 light years on a side.
January 16, 1991
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January 16, 1991 12:00 AM (EST)