Take a closer look at a glittering collection of hundreds of thousands of ancient stars in the globular cluster M-13.


Hello and welcome. I'm Jane Houston Jones at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

2009 is International Year of Astronomy. And each month this year we’re showcasing a great celestial object. This month it’s the Hercules Globular Cluster, which is also called M-13.

Title: M13

Jane Houston-Jones:  It’s called M-13 because this object is the 13th of Charles Messier’s 1764 catalog of celestial objects.

Title:  Charles Messier

Jane Houston-Jones:  But Charles Messier wasn’t the discoverer of this cluster!  M-13 was discovered half a century earlier by Edmund Halley.

Title:  Edmund Halley

Jane Houston-Jones:  A globular cluster is a collection of hundreds of thousands of ancient stars held together by gravity.

You can easily find M-13 in the "Keystone"…
Title:  Keystone
Jane Houston-Jones:  …of the constellation Hercules,
Title:  Hercules
Jane Houston-Jones:  …about a third of the way along a line drawn…
Title:  M13
Jane Houston-Jones:  …between Eta and Zeta Herculis.
Titles:  Eta Herculis, Zeta Herculis
Title:  Binoculars View
Jane Houston-Jones:  M-13 will look like a round hazy glow in binoculars.
Title:  Telescope View
Jane Houston-Jones:  Through a telescope, you’ll see individual stars at the edge of the cluster, and a dense core of stars closer to the center.
Titles:  Hubble Space Telescope, Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2
Jane Houston-Jones:  The Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2  (or “WFPC2” for short) and the Advanced Camera for Surveys combined data from 1999 through 2006 to create a glittering image of this Herculean star city.
Title:  Milky Way (artist’s concept)

Jane Houston-Jones:  A spiral galaxy like our Milky Way is made up of three visible parts:  the nucleus, the disk and the halo.

Titles:  Side View, Nucleus

Jane Houston-Jones:  The nucleus contains the highest density of stars in the galaxy.

Title:  Disk

Jane Houston-Jones:  Most of the gas and dust is contained in the disk.

Title:  Halo

Jane Houston-Jones:  The halo, or outer shell, is spherical and contains little gas, dust, or star formation.

Title:  Globular Clusters

Jane Houston-Jones:  The globular clusters found in the halo are the oldest parts of the galaxy.

Titles:  Milky Way, Top View, Side View, M13, Our Sun

Jane Houston-Jones:  M13 is one of 150 globular clusters in the halo of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Title:  Saturn

Jane Houston-Jones:  This is the last month to get a good look at Saturn in the evening sky.   So, don’t miss it!  The rings are narrowing to nearly edge on, and look dimmer than they did last month!

Title:  To learn more about the Hercules globular cluster:   astronomy2009.nasa.gov

You can read about the Hercules globular cluster on NASA's International Year of Astronomy website:  astronomy2009.nasa.gov

Title:  To learn more about NASA’s missions:   www.nasa.gov

And you can learn all about NASA's missions at www.nasa.gov

Title:  Thanks to the following for submitting images:  Tom Callen, Paulo Casquinha, Karl Jennings, Morris Jones

Jane Houston-Jones:  That's all for this month.   I'm Jane Houston Jones.

Title:  NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

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