What’s the heaviest star cluster?

We find out who’s the heftiest stellar family of them all

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Star-packed globular cluster, Omega Centauri, is a hefty star cluster with a mass of 5 million Suns. Image Credit: NASA

Star-packed globular cluster, Omega Centauri, is a hefty star cluster with a mass of 5 million Suns. Image Credit: NASA

Asked by Libby Coleman

The largest globular star cluster in the galaxy is Omega Centauri, which contains the mass of 5 million Suns. Omega Centauri actually stands head and shoulders above other globular clusters, being around ten-times more massive than the typical size of these objects.

Another quirk is that this particular cluster has a varied population of stars. This combination of facts has led scientists to believe that Omega Centauri could in fact be the remnant of a smaller galaxy consumed by the Milky Way in the past. Omega Centauri is usually tricky to spot from the northern hemisphere, but we are approaching our best opportunity to spot it. During May it will be due south at around 11pm (UT) and should be visible to the naked eye. 

Answered by Josh Barker from the National Space Centre

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