Thursday, September 8, 2011

Globular Cluster Photo Series (Part 10): M56

Last Friday while I was up at the Vis the weather was nice enough for me to be able to take the following picture for my globular cluster collection:

Messier 56 in Lyra.
This is Messier 56, a fairly average globular cluster located 32,900 light years away from us in the direction of the constellation Lyra. It is about 84 light years across, comparable to many of the other clusters I've photographed, and because of its distance it covers a fairly small 8.8 arcminutes on the sky (a little less than a third the size of the full moon).

There isn't that much interesting about this cluster, according to the sources I looked at. There are about a dozen variable stars known in it, a decent number but nowhere near the 112 found in Messier 15. The most interesting piece of information I found about it is that it is approaching us at the high velocity of about 145 km/sec. Other than that, not much to say about it, yet another celestial jewel in the collection.

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