“Hubble” considered an ancient globular cluster of stars and its multiple stellar populations

(ORDO NEWS) — Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers observed the globular star cluster Messier 14 and its many unusual star populations.

Globular clusters are groups of closely related stars that orbit galaxies. Astronomers view globular clusters of stars as natural laboratories for studying the evolution of stars and galaxies.

The cluster of stars Messier 14, located at a distance of about 30,300 light years from Earth, belongs to our Milky Way and is located in the galactic plane.

Although the M14 cluster is one of the most massive clusters and has a very high luminosity, it has not been studied in sufficient depth so far, since it is distinguished by high interstellar reddening (of the order of 0.6) and proximity to the plane of the Galaxy.

To get new information about this cluster of stars, researchers led by Francesca D’Antona from the Rome Observatory, Italy, decided to make photometric observations of the M14 cluster using the onboard instruments Ultraviolet and Visual Channel of the Wide Field Camera 3 ( UVIS/WFC3) and Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys (WFC/ACS) of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The results of observations showed that the M14 cluster contains stars with increased metallicity, which correspond to gas that has undergone high-temperature (from 30 to 100 million Kelvin) proton capture reactions (p-process).

In addition, the researchers found that the cluster does not contain stars with extremely high helium abundance, and therefore the researchers suggested a two-stage scheme for the formation of stars in the cluster.

“The first stage is indicated by material rich in p-process elements and significantly enriched in helium, and the second stage is indicated by matter enriched in primary gas. Therefore, in general, the abundance of helium and light elements in the matter of the stars of the cluster takes moderate values.


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