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No. 66: Nov-Dec 1989

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Globular Clusters Upset Theory Of Galaxy Formation

Spherical cloud of globular clusters
A spherical cloud of globular clusters surrounds the Milky Way galaxy. Each cluster is itself a spherical groups of stars.
Through the telescope, globular clusters are beautiful spherical aggregations of bright stars that seem to get ever denser toward the cluster's center. Globular clusters harbor many anomalies (AOB4 and AOB17 in Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos); here, we mention two involving spatial distribution and age.

Many spiral galaxies, like our own Milky Way, spin ponderously in the center of a spherical cloud of scores, even hundreds, of globular clusters (see sketch). Not only do the globular clusters surrounding us display a different spatial distribution (spherical rather than flat-spiral), but their individual ages undercut galaxy theory. All of the Milky Way's globular clusters were supposed to have been formed when our galaxy was created. Yet, the ages of these clusters vary by as much as 5 billion years.

(Dayton, Leigh; "Globular Clusters Upset Theory of Galaxy," New Scientist, p. 34, May 13, 1989.)

Comment. We cannot resist mentioning still another cluster anomaly: The globular clusters do not participate in the galaxy's general rotation. Where did these oddballs come from?

Reference. The catalog volume: Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos, mentioned above, is described here.

From Science Frontiers #66, NOV-DEC 1989. 1989-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987