DISTANT GLOBULAR STAR CLUSTER NGC 7006
Image Credit: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. CLICK photo for larger size and see below for information and links.
Often ignored by amateur astronomers due to its low surface brightness and mild size; globular star cluster NGC 7006 comes to life when viewed with the iconic Hubble Space Telescope. It lies 135,000 light years away at the outer reaches of the galaxy in the galactic halo. The galactic halo is a spherical region of the galaxy comprised of gad, dust, clusters and dark matter. Just how far is 130,000 light years? Oh only about 1.35 quintillion kilometers AND it’s moving away from spaceship Earth at a rate of 380 km or 250 mi per second. If it continues on its current path, when it reaches apogalacticon it will easily become the most distant globular cluster at a massive distance of 330,000 light years. Keep in mind that the Milky Way itself only spans roughly 100,000 light years. In case you’re wondering, apogalacticon is an objects furthest point of travel around the galaxy just as perigalacticon is its closest point of travel around the galaxy. Sound familiar, it should as it’s the same meaning as apogee and perigee just on a galactic scale.
The cluster’s eccentric orbit around the galaxy has astronomers believing that it was formed outside the galaxy and through past mergers of dwarf galaxies it has now become a member of the Milky Way. When you view this photo full size you can see the faint ghostlike formations of distant galaxies tens to hundreds of millions of light years beyond.
NAME: NGC 7006, Caldwell 42.
WHAT IS IT?: Globular star cluster.
HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: 135,000 light years distant.
HOW BIG IS IT?: 2.8’ X 2.8’ arcminutes on the night sky containing approximately 100,000 stars.
APPARENT MAGNITUDE?: 10.6 or +10.6.
WHERE IS IT? (General): Constellation Delphinus the dolphin.
WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000): RA 21h 1m 29.4s / DEC +16° 11′ 14.4″.
ESA Spacetelescope page for this object: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1137a/
SIMBAD data page for NGC 7006: http://simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/sim-id?Ident=NGC+7006