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Object description
NGC 5139 - Omega Centauri - and the small molecular cloud PGCC G308.43+14.62

Object description:

Our image shows a HDR composite of NGC 5139 - Omega Centauri. It is the largest of about 200 globular clusters in our galaxy and contains well over 1 million stars in a volume of space about 150 light-years across. In its center the stellar density is about 40 times higher than in the vicinity of the Sun. Within the local group of galaxies it is surpassed in size only by Mayall II, a globular cluster in the Andromeda Nebula. The age of the stars is more than 12 billion years.

The distance from Earth is about 18000 light-years. NGC 5139 is assigned to type VIII. NGC 5139 was discovered by Edmond Halley in 1677.

Recent investigations show that Omega Centauri is most likely the core of a former dwarf galaxy whose outer stars were absorbed by the Milky Way. In the sky, the cluster can be seen with the naked eye as a distinctly nebulous patch. The brightest region of the cluster covers an area the size of the Moon.

PGC 47 340 is a barred spiral with an apparent size of about 2 x 1 arcmin. With a visual magnitude of 14.5 it is about 200 million light years away from the solar system.

During image processing a small brownish cloud was noticed southwest of NGC 5139 between the two brighter stars HD 116 337 and HD 116 197. At first thought to be a reflection, a data search at Aladin/Simbad revealed it to be a small molecular cloud with the catalog designation PGCC G308.43+14.62. Surely an extremely rarely photographed object !

« « The Molcule cloud PGCC G308.43+14.62 between the two stars HD 116 337 and HD 116 197, southwest of NGC 5139. Click here or the thumbnail to load a large annoted image

« Bild mit Objektbeschriftungen. Click here or the thumbnail to load a large annoted image.

A high-resolution image of the core region of Omega Centauri, taken with our our PlaneWave astrograph we show here.

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