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Detection of a Large-Scale Structure of Intracluster Globular Clusters in the Virgo Cluster

Science  16 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5976, pp. 334-336
DOI: 10.1126/science.1186496

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Abstract

Globular clusters are usually found in galaxies, and they are excellent tracers of dark matter. Long ago it was suggested that intracluster globular clusters (IGCs) may exist that are bound to a galaxy cluster rather than to any single galaxy. Here we present a map showing the large-scale distribution of globular clusters over the entire Virgo cluster. It shows that IGCs are found out to 5 million light years from the Virgo center and that they are concentrated in several substructures that are much larger than galaxies. These objects might have been mostly stripped off from low-mass dwarf galaxies.

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