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M 15

Kroglasta kopica - Globular Cluster M15 (NGC 7078), class IV, in pegasus

Rektascenzija 21 : 30.0 (u:m)
Deklinacija +12 : 10 (sto:m)
Razdalja 32.6 (*1000 sv.l.)
Vizual. magnituda 6.2 (mag)
Zorni kot 12.3 (loc min)

This cluster has the third rank in known variable star population, after M3 and Omega Centauri, a total of 112 variables have been identified. One of them is apparently a Cepheid of Type II (a W Virginis star).

M15 is perhaps the densest of all (globular) star clusters in our Milky Way galaxy. The Hubble Space Telescope has photographically resolved its superdense core, as shown in this HST image. M15's core has undergone a process of contraction called "core collapse", which is common in the dynamical evolution of globulars; of the 147 known globular cluster within our Milky Way Galaxy according to W.E. Harris' database, 21 have been found to contain a collapsed core (among them, besides M15, the Messier globulars M30 and M70), and ther are 8 more candidates, among them M62. It is still unclear if the central core of M15 is packed so dense simply because of the mutual gravitational interaction of the stars it is made of, or if it houses a dense, supermassive object, which would be resembling the supermassive objects in galactic nuclei. The one in M15 would among the nearest and better observable to us, being only little more remote than the Galactic Center and much less obscured by interstellar matter. Although the true nature of these objects remains obscure for the moment, many scientists believe they are strong candidates for "Black Holes".

  • Vec posnetkov M15
  • Amaterski pos. M15

    M15 was the first globular cluster in which a planetary nebula, Pease 1 or K 648 ("K" for "Kuster"), could be identified (Pease 1928, on photographic plates taken at Mt. Wilson in 1927). Leos Ondra has provided more information on this planetary nebula. In 1976 Peterson has reported a possible second planetary nebula in this globular, situated near its center, which was however never confirmed since (thanks to Leos Ondra for pointing out this fact).

    Moreover, globular cluster M15 contains the considerable number of 9 known pulsars, neutron stars which are the remnants of ancient supernova explosions from the time when the cluster was young. These have the designations PSR 2127+11, as well as PSR 2127+11 A to 2127+11 H. The most interesting of these objects is PSR 2127+11 C, which is apparently a component of a neutron star binary, i.e. it has a companion which is also a neutron star (S.B. Anderson et.al., Nature 346:42 (1990), T.A. Prince et.al., ApJL 374:L41 (1991)). This system, like similar ones such as the famous Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar PSR 1913+16, or the lone-standing galactic binary pulsar PSR 1534+12, is of particular interest because they exhibit strong general-relatistic gravitational effects (and is thus a natural laboratory to test Einstein's General Relativity Theory) such as significant perihelion shifts, effects on light, and emission of gravitaional radiation. The latter effect, the emission of gravitational radiation, carries away rotational energy and causes a slowdown of the pulsar frequency as well as of the orbital period.

    Povzeto po:
    Hartmut Frommert (spider@seds.org)
    Christine Kronberg (smil@lrz.uni-muenchen.de)

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