Menu
About Science
Study reveals why the leopard got its spots
Allergy risk linked to time of first trimester
Hubble reveals furthest galaxy yet
Scientists confirm water from lunar probe
Researchers power up tiny batteries
Plants clean air better than expected
Haiti fault capable of another big quake
Japanese man joins growing genome ranks
NASA releases report into balloon crash
Tree's ability to soak up CO2 has limits
Ground coffee helps robot get a grip
Assassin bugs lure arachnid snack
Research reveals spring in ostrich's step
Lizard gender bends at altitude
Study suggests early primates out of Asia
Flamingos boost their colour to find a mate
Globular clusters more than one-off event
Ancient Africans first to use sharp tools
Grass could turn toxic waste into energy
Earth-like planets may be common
Natural born cell killers
Fingers spot typo ahead of the brain
Ecofriendly styrofoam from milk and clay
Study proves exercise boosts immune system
Globular clusters more than one-off event
Scientists have uncovered a previously unknown generation of stars hidden within globular clusters.

The discovery reported in this week's Astrophysical Journal changes our understanding about how these star-filled objects form.

Globular clusters are densely populated masses of stars, usually found orbiting the centre of galaxies.

They contain hundreds of thousands of stars and until now, those found in our galaxy were thought to contain stars that formed in a single 'burst' event around 10 billion years ago.

However Dr Kenji Bekki, an astrophysicist with the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) - a joint venture between Curtin University and The University of Western Australia - has found these clusters contain at least two separate populations of stars.
Multiple periods of star formation

Using detailed spectrographic readings, Bekki found the composition of the stars inside these globular clusters indicated two different stellar generations.

"An initial first generation, followed about 100 million years later by a second generation of stars which formed out of the gas from the first generation," he says.

Bekki says confirming the origin of the second generation stars was the key to understanding what was actually going on.

The study shows these multiple star populations occur in globular clusters, but not in open clusters.

"Open clusters don't have enough mass for multi-generational stellar populations," says Bekki.

He says the number of stellar generations in a globular cluster may not be limited to just two.

"The Omega Centauri globular cluster may have more."
As big as a dwarf galaxy

Using 3D computer simulations of cluster evolution, Bekki realised the globular clusters observed today may have evolved from far more massive 'super clusters' in the distant past.

Over billions of years much of the original stellar population has disappeared through tidal stripping by the host galaxy.

"The computer simulations show the globular clusters in the Milky Way, could have been up to 25 times more massive than the clusters we see today," says Bekki.

"These super clusters may not be classifiable as clusters at all, because they would once have been as massive as dwarf galaxies."

Print
Researchers put spark into scramjets
Fish found making their own 'mozzie' nets
Japan confirms asteroid dust on outback probe
Genetech pioneer awarded science prize
Scientists capture anti-matter atoms
Study reveals Icelandic eruption build-up
Astronomers spot galactic intruder
Open-mouthed laughter appreciated most
Financial crisis causes dip in CO2 levels
Puberty genes linked to body fat
Face shields needed for combat: study
Organically-grown vegies not more nutritious
Bloodstains could give age away
Models show pterosaurs flew long, slow
Marsupial carnivores were underestimated
Massive black hole collision revealed
Jet-lag causes long term memory loss
Sunken tanks could detect secret nukes
Dino demise supersized the mammals
Binge drinking linked to heart disease
Cassini sniffs oxygen on Saturnian moon
Image shows echoes from before big bang
Research uncovers diamond's soft side
World warmer, but trends at odds: report
Humans caused megafauna demise: expert
The world: Four degrees warmer
Blood vessels show pollution, heart disease link
Young great whites don't have the bite
Menu
Dolphin social network good for calves
Is fish-oil Alzheimer snake-oil?
Cosmic rays trace Sun's journey through space
Marsupial mole mystery solved
Scientists warn of new polio virus strain
Oldest known stone axe found in Arnhem Land
Fly-by captures first comet photos
Dead quasar's ghostly glow reignites debate
Mum and Dad tell us how to wear our genes
New images expand solar flare knowledge
Experts urge caution on Snowy cloud seeding
First little Big Bangs created at CERN
Tarantulas help map the fear factor
Neanderthal brains developed differently
Whales showing more sun damage
Bush cricket has the biggest balls of all
Giant gamma bubbles found in Milky Way
Complex life possible earlier than first thought
Happiness evades wandering minds?
Cat lapping defies gravity
Physics unravels wet dog shake
Hubble captures rare galactic view
Early wrinkles no sign of an early grave
World's forests suffer from 'leakage'