Messier Monday: The Most Elusive Globular Cluster, M55 (Synopsis)

“The only thing I have learnt over the years is that if you enjoy your work and put in the best efforts, it will show. If you follow this process, things work out. But if you go chasing a formula, success will elude you.” -Mahesh Babu

When you know something is there but you can't find it for yourself, it makes the search all the more maddening. Yet this exactly was the case for Charles Messier, hunting a catalogued object by a colleague of his for fourteen years before he finally found it!

Image credit: Jim Mazur’s Astrophotography, via Skyledge at http://www.skyledge.net/Messier55.htm. Image credit: Jim Mazur’s Astrophotography, via Skyledge at http://www.skyledge.net/Messier55.htm.

With the combination of a low declination, an intrinsically faint, diffuse object and the bane of having no prominent stars in that region of sky to guide him, it's perhaps a wonder that he found the object at all. But as the decades have gone by, we've discovered a most unusual relic from the Universe when it was at most 10% of its current age!

Image credit: Hillary Mathis, REU Program / NOAO / AURA / NSF, via http://www.noao.edu/image_gallery/html/im0724.html. Image credit: Hillary Mathis, REU Program / NOAO / AURA / NSF, via http://www.noao.edu/image_gallery/html/im0724.html.

Have a look for yourself at Messier 55, the most elusive of all the globular clusters!

Tags

More like this

“I told my father that someday when I grow up and become an astronomer ‘I’m going to discover something.’” -Thomas Bopp But who ever would have imagined that a kid with an armchair interest in astronomy, one who as an adult didn't even own a telescope, would stare into a friend's one fateful night…
“If I take dust in my hand and ask you if that is all the dust there is, you will answer that dust is everywhere on earth. More specks than can ever be numbered. So I can give you a handful of truth only. Besides this there are other truths. More than can ever be numbered.” -Nadeem Aslam Some…
“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…
"Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all." -Abraham Lincoln It might be Veterans Day / Armistice Day all around the world, but it's still Messier Monday here on Starts With A Bang! We may have been fighting wars for all of human history, but nearly all…