The image is a 40 minute exposure taken with a STL-1301E CCD camera through Kopernik's 20 inch F/8 telescope.
Charles Messier discovered globular star cluster M-56 on January 19th, 1779 on the same night as he discovered one of his comets. He was unable to resolve it, and thus listed it as a "nebula without stars" in his famous catalog. William Hershel resolved it into a myriad of dim stars in 1784.
Current estimates place M-56 at a distance of 45,600 light years, with a diameter of 60 light years.
Although a 6 inch telescope will begin to resolve the outer parts of this cluster, it takes a 10 inch to completely resolve it.
Click here for information on Globular Star Cluster distances and ages!!
George Normandin, KAS
September 30th, 2009