Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Milky Way has suburbs?

New research conducted at the Chilean sister of the Big Island’s Gemini Observatory has identified a small star cluster that lives, well, out of town.

"This cluster is faint, very faint, and truly in the suburbs of our Milky Way," said Dongwon Kim, a student at the Australian National University, who worked with a team on the Stromlo Milky Way Satellite Survey.

The initial identification of the new stellar formation was made on during a survey of the southern sky by the Dark Energy Camera on the 4-meter Blanco Telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. 

It was confirmed using the immense light-gathering power of the southern Gemini: the Gemini South telescope on Cerro Pachon in Chile.

More on the Gemini Observatories here.

The new cluster, dubbed Kim 2, is vanishingly faint and far, far away. The authors called it a “a new, low luminosity star cluster in the outer halo of the Milky Way.”

But its presence is based on such challenging calculations that they’re not real sure about the identification. “Spectroscopic observations for radial-velocity membership and chemical abundance measurements are needed to further understand the nature of the object,” they write.

Here’s the Science Daily report on the find. 

Here’s where you canfind the report.

© Jan W. TenBruggencate 2015

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