M 71 – Sge

M 71

M71

Globular clusters are famous for their high concentration of stars: even one million stars closely packed together by gravity. But sometimes we find significantly loose bodies, making them like a dense open cluster.

This is the case of Messier 71 (more data),a wonderful, bright globular cluster with a shape sitting between globular and open clusters. Discovered by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745-1746, M 71 has been a puzzling object up to 1970’s, suggesting contrasting classifications and observations. Now, modern photometry provided evidence for it to be a globular cluster.

The image above is the average of 15, 120-seconds exposures, remotely taken with the PlaneWave 17 robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope Project. All images were unguided. Image scale is about 0.7″/pixel.

 

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