Messier 62

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Messier 62
Messier 62 Hubble WikiSky.jpg
Messier 62 by the Hubble Space Telescope; 1.65 field of view
Credit: NASA/STScI/WikiSky
Observation data (J2000 epoch)
Right ascension 17h 01m 12.60s[2]
Declination–30° 06′ 44.5″[2]
Distance22.2 kly (6.8 kpc)[3]
Apparent magnitude (V)+6.45[4]
Apparent dimensions (V)15
Physical characteristics
Absolute magnitude−9.18.[5]
Mass1.22×106[3] M
Radius49 ly[6]
Tidal radius59 ly.[7]
Metallicity = –1.02[8] dex
Estimated age11.78 Gyr[8]
Other designationsC 1658-300, GCl 51, M62, NGC 6266[9]
See also: Globular cluster, List of globular clusters

Messier 62 or M62, also known as NGC 6266, is a globular cluster of stars in the equatorial constellation of Ophiuchus. It was discovered on June 7, 1771 by Charles Messier, then added to his catalogue in 1779.[10]

M62 is at a distance of about 22.2 kly[3] from Earth and 5.5 kly from the Galactic center.[2] It is among the ten most massive and luminous globular clusters in the Milky Way, showing an integrated absolute magnitude of –9.18.[5] The cluster has an estimated mass of 1.22×106 M[3] and a mass-to-light ratio of 2.05±0.04 in the V band.[11] It has a projected ellipticity of 0.01, meaning is it essentially spherical.[12] The density profile of the cluster members suggests it has not yet undergone core collapse.[13] It has a core radius of 1.3 ly (0.39 pc), a half-mass radius of 9.6 ly (2.95 pc), and a half-light radius of 6.0 ly (1.83 pc). The stellar density at the core is 5.13 M per cubic parsec.[14] It has a tidal radius of 59 ly (18.0 pc).[7]

The cluster shows at least two distinct populations of stars, which most likely represent two separate episodes of star formation. Of the main sequence stars in the cluster, 79%±1% are from the first generation and 21%±1% from the second. The second generation is polluted by materials released by the first. In particular, the abundances of helium, carbon, magnesium, aluminium, and sodium differ between the two populations.[5]

Indications are this is an Oosterhoff type I, or "metal-rich" system. A 2010 study identified 245 variable stars in the cluster's field, of which 209 are RR Lyrae variables, four are Type II Cepheids, 25 are long period variables, and one is an eclipsing binary. The cluster may prove to be the galaxy's richest in terms of RR Lyrae variables.[15] It has six binary millisecond pulsars, including one (COM6266B) that is displaying eclipsing behavior from gas streaming off its companion.[16] There are multiple X-ray sources, including 50 within the half-mass radius.[13] 47 blue straggler candidates have been identified, formed from the merger of two stars in a binary system, and these are preferentially concentrated near the core region.[13]

It is hypothesized that this cluster may be host to an intermediate mass black hole (IMBH), and it is considered particularly suitable for searching for such an object. Examination of the proper motion of stars within 17 of the core does not require an IMBH to explain. However, simulations can not rule out an IMBH with a mass of a few thousand M. Based upon radial velocity measurements within an arcsecond of the core, Kiselev et al. (2008) made the claim that there is an IMBH with a mass in the range (1–9)×103 M.[11]


  1. ^ Shapley, Harlow; Sawyer, Helen B. (August 1927), "A Classification of Globular Clusters", Harvard College Observatory Bulletin, 849 (849): 11–14, Bibcode:1927BHarO.849...11S.
  2. ^ a b c Di Criscienzo, M.; et al. (February 2006), "RR Lyrae-based calibration of the Globular Cluster Luminosity Function", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 365 (4): 1357–1366, Bibcode:2006MNRAS.365.1357D, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2005.09819.x.
  3. ^ a b c d Boyles, J.; et al. (November 2011), "Young Radio Pulsars in Galactic Globular Clusters", The Astrophysical Journal, 742 (1): 51, arXiv:1108.4402, Bibcode:2011ApJ...742...51B, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/742/1/51.
  4. ^ Harris, W.E. (1996), "A Catalog of Parameters for Globular Clusters in the Milky Way", Astronomical Journal, 112: 1487, Bibcode:1996AJ....112.1487H, doi:10.1086/118116. Note: 1997 data update.
  5. ^ a b c Milone, A. P. (January 2015), "Helium and multiple populations in the massive globular cluster NGC 6266 (M 62)", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 446 (2): 1672–1684, arXiv:1409.7230, Bibcode:2015MNRAS.446.1672M, doi:10.1093/mnras/stu2198.
  6. ^ distance × sin( diameter_angle / 2 ) = 49 ly. radius
  7. ^ a b Mackey, A. D.; van den Bergh, Sidney (June 2005), "The properties of Galactic globular cluster subsystems", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 360 (2): 631–645, arXiv:astro-ph/0504142, Bibcode:2005MNRAS.360..631M, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2005.09080.x.
  8. ^ a b Forbes, Duncan A.; Bridges, Terry (May 2010), "Accreted versus in situ Milky Way globular clusters", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 404 (3): 1203–1214, arXiv:1001.4289, Bibcode:2010MNRAS.404.1203F, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.16373.x.
  9. ^ "M 62". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  10. ^ Thompson, Robert; Thompson, Barbara (2007), Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders: From Novice to Master Observer, DIY science, O'Reilly Media, Inc, p. 332, ISBN 978-0596526856.
  11. ^ a b McNamara, Bernard J.; et al. (February 2012), "A Search for an Intermediate-mass Black Hole in the Core of the Globular Cluster NGC 6266", The Astrophysical Journal, 745 (2): 7, Bibcode:2012ApJ...745..175M, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/745/2/175, 175.
  12. ^ McNamara, Bernard J.; McKeever, Jean (November 2011), "The Dynamical Distance, RR Lyrae Absolute Magnitude, and Age of the Globular Cluster NGC 6266", The Astronomical Journal, 142 (5): 4, Bibcode:2011AJ....142..163M, doi:10.1088/0004-6256/142/5/163, 163.
  13. ^ a b c Beccari, G.; et al. (May 2006), "The Dynamical State and Blue Straggler Population of the Globular Cluster NGC 6266 (M62)", The Astronomical Journal, 131 (5): 2551–2560, arXiv:astro-ph/0601187, Bibcode:2006AJ....131.2551B, doi:10.1086/500643.
  14. ^ Baumgardt, H.; Hilker, M. (August 2018), "A catalogue of masses, structural parameters, and velocity dispersion profiles of 112 Milky Way globular clusters", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 478 (2): 1520–1557, arXiv:1804.08359, Bibcode:2018MNRAS.478.1520B, doi:10.1093/mnras/sty1057.
  15. ^ Contreras, R.; et al. (December 2010), "Time-series Photometry of Globular Clusters: M62 (NGC 6266), the Most RR Lyrae-rich Globular Cluster in the Galaxy?", The Astronomical Journal, 140 (6): 1766–1786, Bibcode:2010AJ....140.1766C, doi:10.1088/0004-6256/140/6/1766
  16. ^ Cocozza, G.; et al. (June 2008), "A Puzzling Millisecond Pulsar Companion in NGC 6266", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 679 (2): L105, arXiv:0804.3574, Bibcode:2008ApJ...679L.105C, doi:10.1086/589557.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: Sky map 17h 01m 12.60s, −30° 06′ 44.5″