Find and ob­serve glob­u­lar clus­ters

They’re among the most fas­ci­nat­ing and beau­ti­ful ob­jects you can study with a te­le­scope – they’re also the most chal­leng­ing. Here’s how to get the perfect view…

All About Space - - Stargazer -

Glob­u­lar star clus­ters con­tain some of the old­est stars in the known uni­verse. As the name sug­gests, they are mas­sive balls of stars which can look like a sphere of diamonds through a te­le­scope. Some of them are quite easy to find, although oth­ers can be trick­ier to lo­cate.

Nearly all of the glob­u­lar clus­ters we can see with am­a­teur tele­scopes or­bit around our galaxy, the Milky Way, and the ones most eas­ily vis­i­ble are nearer to our So­lar Sys­tem. How well you can see them de­pends on how far away they are, the struc­ture of the glob­u­lar clus­ter it­self and the size of your te­le­scope. Some clus­ters ap­pear to fill an area of sky, which will make them ob­vi­ous even in a small te­le­scope at low mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, whereas oth­ers will re­quire a higher power eye­piece and a larger te­le­scope to be seen well.

Glob­u­lar star clus­ters can be found al­most all year round, but in the north­ern hemi­sphere spring is a good time of year, as the Earth's po­si­tion in its or­bit means that we are look­ing away from the plane of our galaxy and out into deep space, where many such clus­ters can be seen more eas­ily in slightly less clut­tered ar­eas of the night sky.

Although all glob­u­lar clus­ters are gen­er­ally spher­i­cal in shape, they all have a slightly dif­fer­ent struc­ture. Many are quite com­pact and ap­pear as tight balls of stars, whereas oth­ers have a much looser com­po­si­tion where outer stars in the group are eas­ier to re­solve and can have the ap­pear­ance of be­ing strag­glers in the sys­tem. Most of these clus­ters con­tain up­wards of a hun­dred thou­sand stars!

It has been found that nearly all of these clus­ters formed very early on in the evo­lu­tion of our uni­verse, mak­ing them very old. In fact, it is thought that some of these clus­ters must have formed very soon af­ter the Big Bang it­self.

It is well worth tak­ing the time to track down these amaz­ing ob­jects, no mat­ter what size of te­le­scope you have. You will be re­warded with breath­tak­ing views of an­cient star sys­tems, which will keep you com­ing back for more.

“You will be re­warded with breath­tak­ing views of an­cient star sys­tems”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.