Best of AOP - Star Clusters


M79 is kind of a pathetic globular cluster- I say this with emotion based on its appearance compared to other Messier globular clusters. However the winter sky has little to offer in terms of these clusters; M79 is just about it. These clusters orbit the center of the galaxy and the winter sky (toward Orion) is in the opposite direction. There is a good reason that M79 is so dim- it is located approximately 41,000 light years away and is one of the few that exists outside the orbit of the Sun. So why is this cluster not located with the others? This globular was possibly a component to a smaller, dwarf galaxy that is currently interacting with the Milky Way. In a sense, we may have stolen this cluster from another galaxy! Due to its southern location and distance it is very difficult to appreciate visually through a telescope. CCD images such as this begin to reveal the true nature and beauty of this sphere of stars.

Star map is navigable within this page.

Last Updated: 25-Jun-2014

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About This Image

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20in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.1

Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

Digital Development (DDP) via Maxim/DL was also used in order to display the very dim and very bright details of

the image simultaneously.

Luminance = RGB (synthetic) 45 minutes binned 1x1

Red = 15 minutes binned 1x1

Green = 15 minutes binned 1x1

Blue = 15 minutes binned 1x1

Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF