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

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

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Cluster Within Virgo

Globular clusters are gravitationally bound systems within galaxies containing hundreds of thousands of stars. Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey of the thousands of galaxies that constitute the Virgo cluster, Lee et al. (p. 334, published online 11 March) fulfilled a prediction made almost 60 years ago and found globular clusters outside galaxies. In Virgo the clusters are found far from the center and are concentrated in several substructures much larger than galaxies. Possibly they were stripped off from low-mass dwarf galaxies, and potentially trace the dark matter distribution within the Virgo cluster.