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Messier 71 shot on July23rd 2016 from my Creedmoor site is a globular cluster located in the small constellation of Sagitta (the Arrow).
M71 has been known for a long time, having been first spotted in the mid eighteenth century by Swiss astronomer Jean-Philippe de Cheseaux. Cheseaux discovered a number of nebulae in his career, and also spent much time studying religion: one posthumously published work attempted to derive the exact date of Christ’s crucifixion from astronomical events noted in the Bible.
Despite being a familiar object, Messier 71’s precise nature was disputed until recently. Was it simply an open cluster, a loosely bound group of stars? This was for many years the dominant view. But in the 1970s, astronomers came to the view that it is in fact a relatively sparse globular cluster.
The stars in Messier 71, as is usual in such clusters, are relatively old, at around 9 to 10 billion years, and consequently are low in elements other than hydrogen and helium.