Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Twisters, Typhoon, Solar Wind, Spaceweather and Star Clusters

Staff Writer, DB Holmes
Meteorology / Heliosphere

Typhoon in the western Pacific is referenced as well as sparse earthquake activity. The Earth is taking on some solar wind but nothing of major influence as the wind is not as strong as it could be. 

In galactic news, the M87 galaxy has thrown out a star cluster. Yes, an entire cluster, not just one star was evicted from the galaxy, but a whole family. Astronomers have named this new cluster: HVGC-1, or hypervelocity globular cluster. This lonely star cluster is destined to drift between galaxies for all time.
"Astronomers have found runaway stars before, but this is the first time we've found a runaway star cluster," says Nelson Caldwell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Caldwell is lead author on the study, which will be published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters and is available online.
In simple contrast the Milky Way has 150 of these HVGC's but a large conglomerate like M87 has thousands. What threw scientists a curve was the velocity with which this cluster was moving across the galaxy. The Hectospec instrument on the MMT Telescope in Arizona was used to measure the speed; it is used to garner details about any globular cluster.

The velocity on HVGC-1 was astounding and real:
"We didn't expect to find anything moving that fast," says Jay Strader of Michigan State University, a co-author on the study.
So the next time you look into the sky, a new star cluster might be visible to the most discerning eye, and high-powered telescope. 

Source: Suspicious Observers, Harvard University