Messier 13 Returns

Like an old friend returning after a long absence, the dazzling globular cluster Messier 13 in the constellation Hercules rises in the eastern sky a little earlier each night, a welcome sight along with the bright stars constellations of northern spring and summer. 

Location of M13 in the Keystone of Hercules. Click to enlarge. (image created with SkySafari4)

M13 is one of the finest showpieces of the northern spring and summer skies. It’s located along one edge of the “Keystone” shape of Hercules (see image below). Just at the limit of human eyesight, M13 holds a million stars some 12-13 billion years old, nearly as old as the universe

The excellent image below of M13 posted on Twitter by Jaspal Chadha, a London-based stargazer who does good work despite serious light pollution.

While M13 lies a distant 25,000 light years from Earth, the solar system is actually moving towards it. Kurt Vonnegut wrote, in typical Vonnegut fashion, “Every passing hour brings the Solar System forty-three thousand miles closer to Globular Cluster M13 in Hercules — and still there are some misfits who insist that there is no such thing as progress.”


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