M12 – Globular Cluster in Ophiuchus

M12 is a globular cluster located in the Ophiuchus constellation some 15,700 light-years from Earth. A globular cluster is a spherical collection of stars that is on the edges or just outside of the galaxy and orbits a galactic core as a satellite. Globular clusters are very tightly bound by gravity, which gives them their spherical shapes, but, depending on the size of their black holes, can lose stars as they get attracted by the mother galaxy. M12 currently has about 200,000 stars, but it is losing stars and will likely lose all of its stars to Milky Way in about 4.5 billion years. It is also interesting to note that M12 is approaching our Solar System at a velocity of 16 km/s.

I took this image over 8 hours (21 Luminance images of 10 minutes and 9 RGB color images of 10 minutes each).


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