n. (context astronomy English) a densely-packed spherical star cluster containing thousands to millions of stars
A globular cluster is a spherical collection of stars that orbits a galactic core as a satellite. Globular clusters are very tightly bound by gravity, which gives them their spherical shapes and relatively high stellar densities toward their centers. The name of this category of star cluster is derived from the Latin globulus—a small sphere. A globular cluster is sometimes known more simply as a globular.
Globular clusters, which are found in the halo of a galaxy, contain considerably more stars and are much older than the less dense galactic, or open clusters, which are found in the disk. Globular clusters are fairly common; there are about 150 to 158 currently known globular clusters in the Milky Way, with perhaps 10 to 20 more still undiscovered. These globular clusters orbit the Galaxy at radii of 40 kiloparsecs (130,000 light-years) or more. Larger galaxies can have more: Andromeda, for instance, may have as many as 500. Some giant elliptical galaxies, particularly those at the centers of galaxy clusters, such as M87, have as many as 13,000 globular clusters.
Every galaxy of sufficient mass in the Local Group has an associated group of globular clusters, and almost every large galaxy surveyed has been found to possess a system of globular clusters. The Sagittarius Dwarf galaxy and the disputed Canis Major Dwarf galaxy appear to be in the process of donating their associated globular clusters (such as Palomar 12) to the Milky Way. This demonstrates how many of this galaxy's globular clusters might have been acquired in the past.
Although it appears that globular clusters contain some of the first stars to be produced in the galaxy, their origins and their role in galactic evolution are still unclear. It does appear clear that globular clusters are significantly different from dwarf elliptical galaxies and were formed as part of the star formation of the parent galaxy rather than as a separate galaxy.
Usage examples of "globular cluster".
So he had reached a site in Sphere Jet, Sixteen's globular Cluster home near the black hole.
The Arecibo Observatory has been used both to search for intelligent signals from civilizations in space and, just once, to broadcast a message - to M13, a distant globular cluster of stars, so that our technical capability to engage in both sides of an interstellar dialogue would be clear, at least to us.
He remembered how the Bern had grabbed it in the globular cluster.
He remem -- bered how the Bern had grabbed it in the globular cluster.
My dearly beloved astronomy expert, Pat, had suspected that the prison planet we were on was in the middle of a globular cluster which, she said, was a collection of maybe thousands of stars crowded so close together that the whole clutter of them was bound by each other's gravity, sailing around in complex orbits and all very, very near all the rest.
My dearly beloved astronomy expert, Pat, had suspected that the prison planet we were on was in the middle of a globular cluster which, she said, was a collection of maybe thousands of stars crowded so close together that the whole clutter of them was bound by each other’.
Yet Bell doubted that the events now taking place at the edge of Globular Cluster M-13 could be measured by Earthly standards.
She wore the Clan trueborn haughtiness like a cloak, an aura as far removed from Aidan's empathy as the globular cluster was from the five original Clan worlds.
There are musty old querulous voices that once belonged to winged creatures from an Antares planet, and slugs from a globular cluster.