ars: Globular cluster divorcees shed light on dark matter

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ars: Globular cluster divorcees shed light on dark matter

Post by bystander » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:29 pm

Globular cluster divorcees could shed light on dark matter
ars technica: Nobel Intent - 2010 March 15
Casey Johnston wrote:A paper released in Science last week detailed research that showed globular clusters may be more noncommittal than previously thought. The spherical collections of stars are normally anchored to a single galaxy, but a new study shows that there may be some globular clusters that are currently between galaxies, floating within galaxy clusters and looking for a new home. Scientists are hoping that by tracking globular clusters as they settle down in a new galaxy, the motion could provide information about the effects of dark matter.
Detection of a Large-Scale Structure of Intracluster Globular Clusters in the Virgo Cluster
Globular clusters are usually found in galaxies, and they are an excellent tracer of dark matter. Long ago, it was suggested that there may exist intracluster globular clusters (IGCs) bound to a galaxy cluster rather than to any single galaxy. Here, we present a map showing the large-scale distribution of globular clusters over the entire Virgo cluster. It shows that IGCs are found out to 5 million light years from the Virgo center and that they are concentrated in several substructures much larger than galaxies. These objects might have been mostly stripped off from low-mass dwarf galaxies.