NASA Podcasts

What’s Up for June?
06.04.09
 
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What’s Up for June?

Hello and welcome. I'm Jane Houston Jones at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California

2009 is International Year of Astronomy. And each month this year we’re showcasing a great celestial object. This month it’s the Hercules Globular Cluster, which is also called M-13.

It’s called M-13 because this object is the 13th of Charles Messier’s 1764 catalog of celestial objects.

But Charles Messier wasn’t the discoverer of this cluster! M-13 was discovered half a century earlier by Edmund Halley.

A globular cluster is a collection of hundreds of thousands of ancient stars held together by gravity.

You can easily find M-13 in the "Keystone"of the constellation Hercules, about a third of the way along a line drawn between Eta and Zeta Herculis.

M-13 will look like a round hazy glow in binoculars.

Through a telescope, you’ll see individual stars at the edge of the cluster, and a dense core of stars closer to the center.

The Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (or “WFPC2” for short) and the Advanced Camera for Surveys combined data from 1999 through 2006 to create a glittering image of this Herculean star city.

A spiral galaxy like our Milky Way is made up of three visible parts: the nucleus, the disk and the halo.

The nucleus contains the highest density of stars in the galaxy.

Most of the gas and dust is contained in the disk.

The halo, or outer shell, is spherical and contains little gas, dust, or star formation.

The globular clusters found in the halo are the oldest parts of the galaxy.

M13 is one of 150 globular clusters in the halo of our Milky Way Galaxy.

This is the last month to get a good look at Saturn in the evening sky. So, don’t miss it! The rings are narrowing to nearly edge on, and look dimmer than they did last month!

You can read about the Hercules globular cluster on NASA's International Year of Astronomy website: astronomy2009.nasa.gov

And you can learn all about NASA's missions at www.nasa.gov

That's all for this month. I'm Jane Houston Jones.

And you can learn all about NASA's missions at:
www.nasa.gov

That's all for this month. I'm Jane Houston Jones.

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