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"M15 in Pegasus" 11/11/99 Kitt Peak, Arizona
(Image by Adam Block, Willis Greiner and Cheryl Price. Copyright NOAO, all rights reserved.)

This CCD image was obtained using a 16" Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope operating at f/6.3. The camera used was a SBIG ST-8; sky chart software was Software Bisque's The Sky, acquisition and image manipulation software was Cyanogen's Maxim DL. Two 60-second exposures were taken and combined to form a raw composite image. Dark and flat-field exposures were taken and applied to the raw images.

M15 is a beautiful globular star cluster located in the constellation of Pegasus. It is one of the richer and more compact clusters of this type. Globulars reside at the edges of galaxies, and, as such, have become excellent monitors for mapping the size and shape of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. These clusters possess a type of variable star that allows astronomers to measure their distance from us accurately. By combining the data from all local globular clusters, scientists can essentially draw a map of our galaxy. By using this method it has been determined that the Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, and that we are somewhat out on one of its massive spiral arms. We have recently observed and measured globular clusters residing in other galaxies; these measurements are used to help determine the vast distances to them.

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All images and narratives copyright Willis Greiner, all rights reserved.

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