“In a word, in the eyes of a giant, to whom our Suns were what our atoms are to us, the Milky Way would only look like a bubble of gas.” -Henri Poincaré
When it comes to the wonders of the night sky, it seems like no matter what direction you look in, if you peer far enough, you’re bound to see something distant, exotic and wonderful. But the Messier catalogue is special for exactly the opposite reason: these are the brightest, most prominent objects as seen from our corner of the Universe.
Today’s object, Messier 80, is special for a number of reasons, including the extremely large number of blue straggler stars found in its core. But it’s also extremely noteworthy for the opportunity it gives us to highlight the contributions of an astronomer whose work should be even more highly valued than it already is: Helen Sawyer Hogg, who helped us understand this entire class of object — the globular cluster — better than ever before.