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For today’s observation blog, here is Messier 12 (also known as The Gumball Cluster or NGC 6218) taken from Al Sadeem Observatory using Meade LX850 16″ SCT and SBIG STT-8300MM CCD camera.

This globular cluster consists an intermediate concentration of about 70,000 stars spanning about 75 light-years in spatial diameter, located about 15,700 light-years away from Earth; estimated to be around 12.6 billion years old.

As per discovery on May 30, 1764, the French astronomer Charles Messier described it as “a nebula without stars” being unable to resolve the stars in the cluster. Studies suggest that this globular cluster was once tightly concentrated with so many stars (specifically low-mass stars) but it had lost roughly 4 times as many stars as it was due to the gravitational influence of the Milky Way’s central region.

This globular cluster is best seen during late spring and summer season (particularly May-September). With an apparent magnitude of +7.68, it cannot be seen with the naked eye. With the aid of binoculars, it would appear as a tiny faint hazy patch of light under clear and extremely skies. A telescope with an aperture of 8 inches and larger will resolve the numerous stars in the cluster.

Finding M12 in the Sky (courtesy of Roberto Mura)


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