Globular cluster in Lepus

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Messier 79 is a nice globular cluster that can be found in the constellation Lepus, the Hare, which is just below the feet of Orion. Through a small telescope, the outer sections of the cluster can be resolved into individual stars. The strings of stars around the periphery give the cluster something of a star-like shape. Messier 79 has a dense center, but with larger telescopes and higher magnification, individual stars in the core can be discerned.

Near the bottom right edge of the image, a scattering of some small and very distant galaxies can be seen, adding a real sense of depth to the scene.

Magnitude 7.7
Apparent Size 6'
Distance (light yrs) 43,000
Right Ascension 5:24.5
Declination -24 33
Field of View 32' x 25'

Image details:  Exposure times of 24 minutes luminance and 18 minutes each of red, green, and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M camera through a Meade 12” telescope at f/6.

February 2012