CCD image of globular star cluster Palomar Number 13 taken with an ST-9E CCD camera thru Kopernik's 20 inch F/8.1 telescope. The field of view is about 8x8 arc minutes. Exposure = 10 minutes.
Globular Star Cluster Palomar 13 has roamed the halo of our Milky Way Galaxy for the last 12 billion years. This sparse cluster of stars is one of the smallest, faintest globular clusters known. Palomar 13's galactic halo orbit is a highly eccentric one, which every one or two billion years, brings it relatively close to the galactic center. With each close approach to the Milky Way's central regions, gravitational tidal forces strip away the delicately bound cluster stars. In fact, detailed present day studies offer evidence for a dramatic end to this dwindling cluster's tidal tug of war. Palomar 13's latest close approach to the galaxy's center was only about 70 million years ago. When Palomar 13 again approaches the galaxy, it could well turn out to be the cluster's last stand.
This is one of extremely dim globular star clusters found on the survey photographs taken with the 48 inch Schmidt Camera at Palomar Observatory.
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