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Messier 80 - a small globular cluster in the constellation Scorpion

Description of object:

Our image of Messier 80 is actually a side-product. The night the image was taken, there were three minor planets - Ceres, Dione and Katyusha - in the field of view, which were the actual target of the image. In the upper right corner of the image there are two small and faint galaxies, IC 4596 and IC 4600.

M 80 (Type II) is a small globular cluster in the constellation of Scorpio and is located at a distance of about 33,000 light years from the solar system. The true diameter is about 100 light years. The age of the stars in the cluster is estimated at 13 billion years. The globular cluster was discovered on January 4, 1781.

Unusual is the high number of blue stars, so called "blue stragglers" in M 80. Such stars are usually located in regions with a high star formation rate, which does not occur in old globular clusters. Astronomers believe that these stars are formed when two smaller stars collide and merge. Such collisions are virtually impossible in normal regions of a galaxy, but in globular clusters the star density is thousands or tens of thousands of times higher. M 80 is one of the densest globular clusters in our Milky Way.
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