Messier 13

It was a perfect night to point the 250mm Dobsonian reflector telescope skyward here at the Wintergreen house. Without the light pollution endemic to Washington, the stars, even to the naked eye stretched out in eddies across the sky. The Milky Way galaxy was clearly visible–it can only be imagined in the Nation’s capital.

My target for last night was the great globular cluster in Hercules, now, in July, almost at the Zenith. I was using a powerful wide-angle eyepiece that coupled a large field of view with the ability to resolve very faint objects.

And there it was, a large snow ball of stars, dots of light, extending away from the center in all directions.

These globular clusters are thought to mainly contain older stars, as far as our galaxy goes. The globulars, like M13 apparently orbit the galactic center–not in the plane of the galaxy (such as our Sun) but rather as a ghostly ellipsoid halo.