M71 from w:Hubble Space Telescope; 3.35′ view
|Observation data (w:J2000 epoch)|
|Right ascension||19h 53m 46.11s|
|Declination||+18° 46′ 42.3″|
|Distance||12 kly (3.7 kpc)|
|Apparent magnitude (V)||+6.1|
|Apparent dimensions (V)||7′.2|
|Mass||kg ( M)|
|Estimated age||9-10 Gyr|
|Other designations||M71, NGC 6838, GCl 115|
Messier 71 (also known as M71 or NGC 6838) is a w:globular cluster in the w:constellation w:Sagitta. It was discovered by w:Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1746 and included by w:Charles Messier in his catalog of w:comet-like objects in 1780. It was also noted by Koehler at w:Dresden around 1775.
M71 was long thought (until the 1970s) to be a densely packed w:open cluster and was classified as such by leading w:astronomers in the field of star cluster research due to its lacking a dense central compression , its stars having more "metals" than is usual for an ancient globular cluster, and further its lacking the RR Lyrae "cluster" variable stars that are common in most globulars. However, modern photometric photometry has detected a short "w:horizontal branch" in the H-R diagram of M71, which is characteristic of a globular cluster. The shortness of the branch explains the lacking of the RR Lyrae variables and is due to the globular's relatively young age of 9-10 billion years. The relative youth of this globular also explains the abundance of "metals" in its stars. Hence today, M71 is designated as a very loosely concentrated globular cluster, much like M68 in Hydra. M71 has a luminosity of around 13,200 suns.
- Messier71 @ SEDS Messier pages
- Messier 71, Galactic Globular Clusters Database page
- Messier 71, LRGB CCD image based on two hours total exposure