Nuclear star cluster

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The nuclear star cluster of our own Milky Way Galaxy seen with adaptive optics in the infrared with the NaCo instrument on the VLT.

A nuclear star cluster, or NSC in short, or compact stellar nucleus, sometimes called young stellar nucleus, is a star cluster with a very high density and high luminosities near the barycenter of most galaxies.[1]

NSCs are the central massive objects of fainter, lower-mass galaxies where supermassive black holes are not present or are of ineligible mass. In the most massive galaxies, nuclear star clusters are entirely absent. Some galaxies, including the Milky Way, are known to contain both a nuclear star cluster and a supermassive black hole of comparable mass.[2]



  1. Ferrarese, L.; Merritt, D.; Eckart, A. (2009). "The nuclear star cluster of the Milky Way: proper motions and mass". Astrophysics. Solar and Stellar Astrophysics 502 (1): 91. arXiv:0902.3892. Bibcode 2009A&A...502...91S. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/200810922.
  2. Nishiyama, S.; Schödel, R. (2012). "Young, Massive Star Candidates Detected throughout the Nuclear Star Cluster of the Milky Way". Astrophysics. Solar and Stellar Astrophysics 549: A57. arXiv:1210.6125. Bibcode 2012yCat..35490057N. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201219773.