Hercules Cluster, May 24, 2009. The great ball of light in the middle of this photograph is a globular cluster of stars found in the constellation Hercules. The cluster also goes by the designation, M13. In a dark, rural sky M13 is just visible as a fuzzy patch of light. It's located about 25,000 light years away, and it's about 150 light years across, containing hundreds of thousands of stars.
The Hercules Cluster is unimaginably old at least 12 billion years. It was already ancient billions of years before our solar system formed. To the lower left of the cluster is an oblong, fuzzy patch. This is a spiral galaxy somewhat similar to our own Milky Way. This distant galaxy is called NGC 6207, and recent research has shown it to be about 71 million light years from Earth.
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