Omega Centauri

Omega Centauri (ω Cen) or NGC 5139 is a globular cluster in the constellation of Centaurus, discovered by Edmond Halley in 1677 who listed it as a nebula. Omega Centauri had been listed in Ptolemy's catalog 2000 years ago as a star. Lacaille included it in his catalog as number I.5. It was first recognized as a globular cluster by the English astronomer John William Herschel in the 1830s. ("Omega Centauri" is a Bayer designation, even though the object is a cluster.)

Orbiting the Milky Way, it is both the brightest and the largest known globular cluster associated with our galaxy (1.6 Em). Of all the globular clusters in the Local Group of galaxies, only Mayall II in the Andromeda Galaxy is brighter and more massive. ω Centauri is so different from other galactic globular clusters that it is thought to be of different origin.

It is located about 15,800 light-years (4,850 pc) from Earth and contains several million Population II stars. The stars in its center are so crowded that they are estimated to average only 0.1 light years away from each other. It is about 12 billion years old.

Omega Centauri is one of the few globular clusters visible to the naked eye and appears about as large as the full Moon. Kapteyn's star, which is currently only 13 light years away, is thought to originate from Omega Centauri.

Read more about Omega Centauri:  Dynamics, Presence of A Central Black Hole, Disrupted Dwarf Galaxy, In Fiction

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Centaurus - Notable Features - Deep-sky Objects
... ω Centauri (NGC 5139), despite being listed as the constellation's "omega" star, is in fact a naked-eye globular cluster, located at a distance of 17,000 light-years with a diameter of 150 light-years ... Omega Centauri is classified as a Shapley class VIII cluster, which means that its center is loosely concentrated ... This has prompted suspicion that Omega Centauri was the core of a dwarf galaxy that had been absorbed by the Milky Way ...
Omega Centauri - In Fiction
... The author uses the possible origins of Omega Centauri as a major plot point and discusses a number of scientific aspects, such as the likely radiation ...