M3 Image Close-Up


This M3 shot was taken on the first night (3/08/03) out with the SAC8. It is a bit over-exposed in places, but is not too bad an effort for my first light. Actually, this image was taken after the camera hit the driveway... It was taken at prime focus with the Nexstar 8GPS.

M3 is one of the most outstanding globular clusters, containing an estimated half million stars. At a distance of about 33,900 light years, it is further away than the center of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, but still shines at magnitude 6.2. The cluster's brightest stars are of mag 12.7, while the so-called Horizontal Branch giants are of mag 15.7, and the 25 brightest stars have an average brightness of 14.23 mag. This stellar swarm is approaching us at 148.5 km/sec.


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