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Omega centauri.

Two Images of the Globular Cluster Omega Centauri. Panel (a), on the left, shows a ground-based image of Omega Centauri as a large sphere of thousands of stars that is so dense that the central region appears as an indistinct patch of light. Panel (b), on the right, shows a high-resolution H S T image of the central region, showing dozens of bright red and blue stars amidst a background of thousands of fainter yellow stars.
(a) Located at about 16,000 light-years away, Omega Centauri is the most massive globular cluster in our Galaxy. It contains several million stars. (b) This image, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, zooms in near the center of Omega Centauri. The image is about 6.3 light-years wide. The most numerous stars in the image, which are yellow-white in color, are main-sequence stars similar to our Sun. The brightest stars are red giants that have begun to exhaust their hydrogen fuel and have expanded to about 100 times the diameter of our Sun. The blue stars have started helium fusion. (credit a: modification of work by NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); credit b: modification of work by NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team)

What would it be like to live inside a globular cluster? In the dense central regions, the stars would be roughly a million times closer together than in our own neighborhood. If Earth orbited one of the inner stars in a globular cluster, the nearest stars would be light-months, not light-years, away. They would still appear as points of light, but would be brighter than any of the stars we see in our own sky. The Milky Way would probably be difficult to see through the bright haze of starlight produced by the cluster.

About 150 globular clusters are known in our Galaxy. Most of them are in a spherical halo (or cloud) surrounding the flat disk formed by the majority of our Galaxy’s stars. All the globular clusters are very far from the Sun, and some are found at distances of 60,000 light-years or more from the main disk of the Milky Way. The diameters of globular star clusters range from 50 light-years to more than 450 light-years.

Open clusters

Open clusters are found in the disk of the Galaxy. They have a range of ages, some as old as, or even older than, our Sun. The youngest open clusters are still associated with the interstellar matter from which they formed. Open clusters are smaller than globular clusters, usually having diameters of less than 30 light-years, and they typically contain only several dozen to several hundreds of stars ( [link] ). The stars in open clusters usually appear well separated from one another, even in the central regions, which explains why they are called “open.” Our Galaxy contains thousands of open clusters, but we can see only a small fraction of them. Interstellar dust, which is also concentrated in the disk, dims the light of more distant clusters so much that they are undetectable.

Jewel box (ngc 4755).

The Open Cluster N G C 4755. This open cluster, known as the “Jewel Box,” contains many bright white and blue stars as well as a bright yellow supergiant near the center.
This open cluster of young, bright stars is about 6400 light-years away from the Sun. Note the contrast in color between the bright yellow supergiant and the hot blue main-sequence stars. The name comes from John Herschel’s nineteenth-century description of it as “a casket of variously colored precious stones.” (credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky)

Although the individual stars in an open cluster can survive for billions of years, they typically remain together as a cluster for only a few million years, or at most, a few hundred million years. There are several reasons for this. In small open clusters, the average speed of the member stars within the cluster may be higher than the cluster’s escape velocity, Escape velocity is the speed needed to overcome the gravity of some object or group of objects. The rockets we send up from Earth, for example, must travel faster than the escape velocity of our planet to be able to get to other worlds. and the stars will gradually “evaporate” from the cluster. Close encounters of member stars may also increase the velocity of one of the members beyond the escape velocity. Every few hundred million years or so, the cluster may have a close encounter with a giant molecular cloud, and the gravitational force exerted by the cloud may tear the cluster apart.

Several open clusters are visible to the unaided eye. Most famous among them is the Pleiades ( [link] ), which appears as a tiny group of six stars (some people can see even more than six, and the Pleiades is sometimes called the Seven Sisters). This cluster is arranged like a small dipping spoon and is seen in the constellation of Taurus, the bull. A good pair of binoculars shows dozens of stars in the cluster, and a telescope reveals hundreds. (A car company, Subaru, takes its name from the Japanese term for this cluster; you can see the star group on the Subaru logo.)

The Hyades is another famous open cluster in Taurus. To the naked eye, it appears as a V-shaped group of faint stars marking the face of the bull. Telescopes show that Hyades actually contains more than 200 stars.

Stellar associations

An association    is a group of extremely young stars, typically containing 5 to 50 hot, bright O and B stars scattered over a region of space some 100–500 light-years in diameter. As an example, most of the stars in the constellation Orion form one of the nearest stellar association s. Associations also contain hundreds to thousands of low-mass stars, but these are much fainter and less conspicuous. The presence of really hot, luminous stars indicates that star formation in the association has occurred in the last million years or so. Since O stars go through their entire lives in only about a million years, they would not still be around unless star formation has occurred recently. It is therefore not surprising that associations are found in regions rich in the gas and dust required to form new stars. It’s like a brand new building still surrounded by some of the construction materials used to build it and with the landscape still showing signs of construction. On the other hand, because associations, like ordinary open clusters, lie in regions occupied by dusty interstellar matter, many are hidden from our view.

Key concepts and summary

Star clusters provide one of the best tests of our calculations of what happens as stars age. The stars in a given cluster were formed at about the same time and have the same composition, so they differ mainly in mass, and thus, in their life stage. There are three types of star clusters: globular, open, and associations. Globular clusters have diameters of 50–450 light-years, contain hundreds of thousands of stars, and are distributed in a halo around the Galaxy. Open clusters typically contain hundreds of stars, are located in the plane of the Galaxy, and have diameters less than 30 light-years. Associations are found in regions of gas and dust and contain extremely young stars.

Questions & Answers

hi, I am yamini, I am in class 8 but very much interested in astronomy and go to NASA, what are the subjects in which I can master and lead to NASA.
yamini Reply
Hello Yamini, Im Ken and I'm avery intrested in joining the NASA too. Is nice to meet you.
Ken
very*
Ken
nice to meet u ken
yamini
What I know about the subjects is that you have to be a master on science and math, also if you know about aviation is better too
Ken
I read that the Russian language is very important, is not a requirement but it's like an extra point!
Ken
yeah like physics, chemistry and maths, they are my most favorite.
yamini
than you can go free of cost
Arush
Yes, That's right!
Ken
how
yamini
Oh! Free of cost?
Ken
hello yamini nice to meet you
Burak
what is time
Abdul Reply
Time is relative
mrunal
pls elaborate
sakshi
the clear defination.I know that.
Abdul
In planet mars there the life exits or not and is there water there
Eshwarsa Reply
see till now nothing can be found as u know that the curiosity rover has struck in mars
Maya
It has been proven that there are water molecules on Mars but not enough that most lifeforms could thrive upon.
Ariana
There are huge amounts of water in the ice caps and under the surface. The surface and chemistry indicate that Mars had cosiderable amounts of water on its surface in the past.
Julius
what is your opinion about the theory of Vedas about modern physics..
Manish Reply
i think in some ways vedas are also correct but not everytime
Maya
I agree
sakshi
hmm even I agree
Samuel
Is there any patened theory about time relativitg in growth and development?
donot Reply
some astronomer's says that there is no alien exist but why search for extra terrestrial intelligence center is established
Eshwarsa Reply
No One Knows That For Absolute Fact, The Universe Is Too Huge To Have Any Type Of Idea About What Exist In The Far Reaches Of Our Universe.....
Adam
Check Out The Drake Equation.....
Adam
their should be aliens as like ours there would be another planet
Maya
which could have existed life on it
Maya
adam i want to ask a question
Maya
can kepler 1st law be applied on all the planets of the universe
Maya
hello, anyone home?
Denise
sjskskfhjkkktewqqw and try?
Lanika Reply
what is this ?
Samuel
hi I am Samuel from India mumbai
Samuel
nice to meet you
Samuel
thats my question, what is this?
penzias and wilson's a discovery of the cosmic microwave background is a nice example of scientific serendipity-something that is found by chance but turns out to have a positive outcome
Jacqueline Reply
how should I make my carrier in astronomy
Ayush Reply
I think that Newton's third law is not appropriate if any also thinks like this please reply me
Ayush
Can you explain your reasoning
Huh
why u think so
joseph
yes Ayush u are right
Yoganshu
I think when we apply force to a object it start moving but , a/c to Newton's third law every action has equal and opposite reaction,so object should also exert equal force on us and it should not move due to balanced force
Ayush
if I am not right then reply me
Ayush
no
Zack
because of friction that opposes that force and help us to move ahead
Manish
but this is not satisfied as third law say another thing
Ayush
you are telling why object moves
Ayush
you have to think a/c to third law
Ayush
its because of its mass
Maya
because it is applying equal and opposite force but also our mass is also less in comparison to the object
Maya
which is why we cant move the object but it can make move us
Maya
manish is too correct in his place because we need to apply force which would overcome the frictional force
Maya
My dear friends, can u plz tell me that among u guys who are in the field of cosmology
Madhav Reply
😢I am not there in cosmology
Samuel
Just A Science Fan.....
Adam
Adam even I am 😥😅😅😂😂
Samuel
I am also not in cosmology but I am just a fan or we can say science and part of NASA is my dream
Yoganshu
yoganshu Arya same here
Samuel
you are from which country
Yoganshu
hi yoganshu
Samuel
India
Samuel
which state
Samuel
I am also from India
Yoganshu
from delhi
Yoganshu
and u...?
Yoganshu
I am from Maharashtra
Samuel
from which state?
Yoganshu
You are a ASTRONOMER ...
Yoganshu
or a scientist..
Yoganshu
or just a member
Yoganshu
What is time...? not about Newton= time is constant..... that all scientists openions n point of view I m knowing. . what can be the Perfect Definition of Time
Madhav Reply
time is what clock reads
Ayush
Who is the best astronomer of India at present time
Gian Reply
Jayant Narlikar, Proponent Of Steady State Cosmology.....
Adam
What is the real colour of sun rays
Gian Reply
white.. so white it becomes violet.. so violet it become ultraviolet
Tom
white and red and yellow
Bianca
Vibgyor
Samuel
the real colour of sunlight is White
Madhav
the Sun's has a variety of waves all throughout the elextromagnetic spectrum.
Jacie
we only see it as a few bc of how some of them get redshifted (? can that term be applied for something so local?) by some particles in our upper atmosphere
Jacie
Vibgyor will be when, the white light will pass through the clouds ( prism ) then Refraction phenomenon leads us to 7 colours splitting from a single colour "White " light
Madhav
so the sun rays r of White colour
Madhav
Taurus in astronomy and horoscope?
Yasser Reply
how to put E=MC2
Gospel Reply
What Do You Mean By How To Put?
Adam
What Do You Mean By How To Put?
Adam
What Do You Mean By "How To Put E=MC2?
Adam
yep
Gospel
Hi guys
Samuel
i mean how NASA came to know the mass and diameters of Stars.how?
Gospel
how did they do using E=MC2
Gospel
thats my questioning
Gospel
that's easy formula's derivation
Madhav
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, Astronomy. OpenStax CNX. Apr 12, 2017 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11992/1.13
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