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Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2007

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M72 Globular Cluster, Michael O'Shaughnessey

M72 Globular Cluster

The photograph above was taken on October 31st, 2007. It is a Globular Cluster; specifically the object M72. Globular Clusters are nearly symmetrical round systems of, typically, hundreds of thousands of stars. In the dense central regions of a cluster, the stars would be roughly a million times closer together than in our neighborhood if we were to live inside the cluster. M72 is situated in the very western part of constellation Aquarius. M72 is also at about 53,000 light years, it lies a considerable distance beyond the Galactic Center.

The brightest star in M72 is about 14.2 mag. You'll notice how the stars are more yellow and that is because this cluster includes some of the oldest stars in the galaxy. They are here to stay! You may notice how large and zoomed out the image is. That is because I wanted to give you a broader view of how jam-packed this globular cluster actually is. You'll notice in the middle of the cluster, how close together and overlapping the stars look, and how as we look farther away from the center of the cluster, the stars are more spread out. The linear size of this cluster is 52.17 light years wide. It's pretty neat to see how perfectly and intently our God made clusters this far away from us; leaving us more to explore than with just the human eye. Technology has allowed us to see these amazing images, and I think it was in God's plan for us to enjoy them.


Globular Cluster M72 (NGC 6981), class IX, in Aquarius.<http://www.seds.org/MESSIER/m/m072.html>

Voyages-Through the Universe, Fraknoi Morrison Wolff (pgs. 470-471)

Right Ascension (J2000) 20:53:30
Declination (J2000) -12:32:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 5x60 seconds in C, 300 seconds in BVR
Date observed

October 31 , 2007 (C)
October 31, 2007 (BVR)