Image Credit & Copyright: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope on the left and mine is on the right (obviously).  CLICK image for larger view and look below for information and related links.

OK, this is round FOUR in the “ME vs.” series and this time I’m taking on the most celebrated telescope in history; the Hubble Space Telescope….again.

I will preface this as I always do by saying of course I don’t seriously think of this as me vs these incredible telescopes.  I could never in my wildest dreams, in the darkest skies and with the most expensive equipment achieve this level of data collection.  What I am doing here is giving the beginner an idea of what you can see in the eyepiece of an actual telescope vs what you get through the incredible powers of some of the major space and land based telescopes of the world.

Often when beginners save up and purchase their first telescopes their dreams of seeing filaments in the Crab Nebula or the towering star forming Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula etc. are quickly dashed, thoroughly deflating any motivation they may have had to get into amateur astronomy or sky watching.  Hopefully this series can help give you a feel for what you’re getting into.  Also, there’s no substitute for looking through an eyepiece yourself.  I seriously urge you, if you’re on the market for a telescope, locate your local astronomical society (astronomy club) or university and visit one of their local sky watches/star parties and typically they will have a handful of different telescope options for you to check out.

This time my object of interest is Messier 13, the Hercules Cluster which was the supposed target for the 1974 Arecibo message.  This object is a Northern hemisphere favorite as at an apparent magnitude of around 5.8 it can be seen with the unaided eye or binoculars from a dark sky.  If you’re confused as to how apparent magnitudes work here’s a rough write up I did on the subject: or just look to the top of my blog page and look for the “MAGNITUDES” tab.

The Hubble image here is just over 40 minutes of exposure time while my image on the right is 40 seconds with my Nikon D90 attached to my Celestron C8 (8” Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope) on a Celestron German Equatorial Mount (CGEM).  I have cropped the image to attempt to give a fair side by side comparison as far as size goes but other than that my image is unprocessed.

So 30 seconds, that’s not very long but still long enough to mention that your eyes have a zero second data collection ability thus, even this image is more than you will be able to see through the eyepiece.  If you have dark skies (which I don’t) you really won’t be too far off from this view with the same telescope.  If you’re interested in whether or not you have dark skies check this page out:

For my previous “ME vs.” editions check here:

NAME: Messier 13, M13, NGC 6205, Hercules Cluster.

WHAT IS IT?: Globular star cluster.

WHEN WAS IT DISCOVERED?: Discovered in 1714 by Edmond Halley and cataloged by Charles Messier on June 1, 1764.

HOW FAR AWAY IS IT?: About 25,000 light years.

HOW BIG IS IT?: Contains about 300,000 stars and spans about 145 light years in diameter.

APPARENT MAGNITUDE?:Dim but naked eye visible in dark conditions at 5.8.

WHERE IS IT? (General): Constellation Hercules.

WHERE IS IT? (Exact RA/DEC J2000):RA 16h 41m 41.24s/ Dec +36° 27′ 35.5″.

ESA Hubble page for this image:

Image | This entry was posted in Astronomy (Learning), Astrophotography (DSOs), Images, ME vs. .........., Star Clusters (Globular-Open), Telescopes & Detection Equip. and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to ME vs. HUBBLE: M13 HERCULES CLUSTER

  1. stevend says:

    Great series. I also refer you to this great thread at

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