M3

Posted: September 29, 2013 in Astronomy
Tags: , ,

M3a

M3b

M3c

Messier 3 (aka NGC5272) is a large globular cluster. It is estimated to contain approximately half a million stars. it is 39,900 light years from Earth. It has become one of the most studied clusters in the sky, primarily due to the large population of variable stars it contains. Variable stars are stars which when observed from Earth appear to fluctuate in brightness. There are two potential reasons for this – firstly that the actual brightness of the star fluctuates in the amount of light emitted or secondly because although the amount of light emitted from the star is constant, the amount of light reaching the Earth varies due to something blocking its transmission.

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