View Full Version : Coma Berenices

John Kierein
2002-Apr-21, 11:50 AM
So. Which is it? 250 light years or outside the galaxy? The article says one thing and the caption another.

David Hall
2002-Apr-21, 12:17 PM
Looks like some BA to me. The star map on the side says the star cluster is outside of our galaxy. I'm sure they meant outside of the solar system or something.

http://www.space.com/php/multimedia/imagedisplay/img_display.php?pic=bernices_map_020419_02.gif&cap=Coma%20Berenices%20is%20actually%20a%20galacti c%20cluster%20of%20stars%20well%20beyond%20our%20o wn%20Milky%20Way%20Galaxy.%20This%20map%20will%20h elp%20you%20locate%20the%20loose%20grouping%20of%2 0stars.

Or they could be confusing it with the Coma cluster, a cluster of galaxies millions of light-years away in that general direction and connected to the Virgo cluster.

My Starry night program shows that the main stars in the constellation are between about 50 and 150 light years away.

So it seems there are 3 things to see: The constellation itself, the open star cluster and the galactic cluster, all with the same name.

Kaptain K
2002-Apr-21, 09:31 PM
My guess is that it is bad astronomy in the caption.
The article mentions that the constellation is near the north galactic pole and is, therefore, far (in the angular sense) from the band of light we call the "Milky Way"

2002-Apr-22, 04:40 AM
Gotta be the caption that's bad. The Coma Star Cluster is about 270LY away; the article says 250LY. Close enough, and definitely inside the Milky Way.

Looks like Space.com fell for the old mistake of saying something is outside our "galaxy" when they meant "solar system".

More on Coma Berenices: