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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2006

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M3, Eryn Fenske

M3

M3 is a globular cluster and has been called one of the most spectatular clusters in the universe. Globular clusters are "gravitationally bound concentrations of approximately 10,000 to one million stars." Clusters have been noted to have a lower amount of heavy elements than the Sun. Most globular clusters are considered to be very old and formed by earlier generations of stars. There are about 200 globular clusters in our galaxy. M3 was first discovered by Charles Messier on May 3, 1764, but was correctly recognized as a cluster by William Herschel in 1784.

M3 contains about a half of a million stars and is calculated to be a distance of 33,900 lightyears away. It has a magnitude of 6.2, but one of its brightest starts has been seen at a magnitude of 12.5. It is debated exactly how old the cluster is, but astronomers have estimated between 5 and 26 billion years old. The cluster has a large number of "blue stragglers" which are blue-main sequence stars that appear to be very young. It is a brillant sight to see.

References:
M3. 9 Dec. 1999. 27 Apr. 2006 <http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m003.html>.

Star Clusters. 21 Nov. 1999. 27 Apr. 2006 <http://www.seds.org/messier/cluster.html>.

 

Right Ascension (J2000) 13:42:12
Declination (J2000) +28:23:00
Filters used clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 6.0E + 001sec in C
Date observed

March 30, 2006 (C)