Globular Clusters
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Globular Clusters 

The new shot of 13 is at the bottom of this page

M4 is considered one of the most remarkable globular clusters in the sky. It lies in Scorpius close to Antares.
As one of the prominent features in the summer Milky Way, it is also very well known by amateur astronomers. Anyone who has ever looked through a telescope can tell you that globular clusters are beyond description. The breathtaking beauty of these objects has never been captured on film, in my opinion. 

M4 in Scorpius
C11 SCT F6.3 15 min exposure on K Gold 1000

They do indeed remind me of a pile of diamonds on the jewelers counter. 

The stars in globular clusters were formed 10 to 12 billion years ago, while our galaxy was just a massive cloud of gas. These stars have watched this cloud churn and swirl, condense into pockets, and form the other stars in the galaxy. They are very old stars and have a very low metalicity. That is to say that they have practically no elements in them heavier than oxygen. They orbit the galaxy in the halo, not in the galactic disk. Their stars orbit in their massve bundle as a swarm of bees, never making a circular orbit. They are the caretakers of our galaxy.

I was showing M5 to some eager 8 year olds one night in the 18" scope. One young lad had barely peeked in the eyepiece when he blurted out  "Wow! An explosion!".

He beckoned his parents to quickly come see. This is my favorite globular cluster. I like the color and patterns of stars in it. It is also very near a brilliant golden star that often shares the same field of view.

M5 measures 130 light years across and lies 23,500 light years away.


M5 in Serpens Caput

C11 SCT F6.3 15 min exposure on K Gold 1000 

The Great Globular Cluster M13 in Hercules

M13 is the great summer time favorite for most folks.  It's big, bright, and easy to find.

6 one minute exposures in each of RGB. C14 With F3.3 corrector, ST7

Although what you see more closely matches the film photograph above, this actually gives us some information about some of the stars in the cluster 

We see minor changes in their color. Different color characteristics can tell us various things about a star.  We can determine, start type, chemical composition, size, and age of a star from its color. It's really hard to get into any detail with film because the thousands of stars that make up this object are so bright.  Short exposures with a CCD camera give us an unusual opportunity to really get in close.