M14: A globular cluster is a group of ancient stars (M14 is thought to be about 11.4 billion years old; by comparison, our sun is about
4.6 billion years old; our galaxy is about 13.5 billion years old, and the universe is thought to be 13.8 billion years old), gravitationally bound to each other, orbiting the core of its
associated galaxy. Unusually, M14 is somewhat elliptical in shape; most globulars are spherical.
I like the dense star field M14 appears in; M14 is in line with the plane of the Milky Way, when viewed from Earth.
M14 is about 30,000 light years from Earth, and is about one-quarter of the angular size of the full moon when viewed from very dark skies; it is roughly 100 light years across. It shines at magnitude 7.9 (not visible with the naked eye, but easily seen with binoculars). It has a mass equal to about 1,000,000 times that of our sun, and contains as many as 300,000 stars (for comparison, there are estimated to be no more than 2,000 stars within 50 light years of earth, which is a bubble about that same size). M14 has an unusual number of variable stars.
Copyright 2020 Mark de Regt