Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

July 19, 1998
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Globular Cluster M3
Credit & Copyright: P. Challis (CfA), 1.2-m Telescope, Whipple Observatory

Explanation: This huge ball of stars predates our Sun. Long before mankind evolved, before dinosaurs roamed, and even before our Earth existed, ancient globs of stars condensed and orbited a young Milky Way Galaxy. Of the 250 or so globular clusters that survive today, M3 is one of the largest and brightest, easily visible in the Northern hemisphere with binoculars. M3 contains about half a million stars, most of which are old and red. The existence of young blue stars in M3 once posed a mystery, but these blue stragglers are now thought to form via stellar interactions.

Tomorrow's picture: La Nina Watch

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.