XMM-Newton Observation of Omega Cen Globular Cluster
Credit: B. Gendre, D. Barret, N. A. Webb, 2003, Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 400, pg. 521

Stellar Ball

Globular clusters like Omega Centaurus are spherical groups of hundreds of thousands or millions of stars. They are very old objects, held together by mutual gravitational attraction. Globulars are important objects, but difficult to study given the extremely high stellar densities in the cluster core. X-ray studies are a particularly important tool since X-rays can pinpoint the location of interacting binaries, and more evolved objects like white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes. Shown above is a recent X-ray image of Omega Cen obtained by the XMM-Newton Observatory. The bright points are X-ray sources showing the location of bright and faint stars and compact objects. Though optical images show an obvious increase of stellar density towards the cluster core, the spatial distribution of the X-ray sources show far less evidence of clustering; in fact surprisingly large numbers of X-ray sources are found in the outer reaches of the cluster.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Wednesday, 19-Mar-2014 21:48:54 EDT