M80


M80No, not the firecracker, the star cluster.

M80 is in the constellation Scorpius between the stars α Scorpii (Antares) and β Scorpii in a part of the Milky Way rich in nebulae. When viewed with a modest amateur telescope (like mine), it appears as a mottled ball of light. This Hubble image shows more detail. M80 is roughly 95 light-years in diameter. It contains several hundred thousand stars, making it one of the more densely populated globular clusters in the galaxy.

M80 contains a fair number of blue stragglers, stars that appear to be much younger than the cluster itself. Astronomers believe that these stars lost part of their outer layers during close encounters with other cluster members or as the result of collisions between stars in the tightly packed cluster. Images from Hubble show regions with very high blue straggler densities which suggests that the center of the cluster probably has a very high capture and collision rate.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

M80


M80No, not the firecracker, the star cluster.

M80 is in the constellation Scorpius between the stars α Scorpii (Antares) and β Scorpii in a part of the Milky Way rich in nebulae. When viewed with a modest amateur telescope (like mine), it appears as a mottled ball of light. This Hubble image shows more detail. M80 is roughly 95 light-years in diameter. It contains several hundred thousand stars, making it one of the more densely populated globular clusters in the galaxy.

M80 contains a fair number of blue stragglers, stars that appear to be much younger than the cluster itself. Astronomers believe that these stars lost part of their outer layers during close encounters with other cluster members or as the result of collisions between stars in the tightly packed cluster. Images from Hubble show regions with very high blue straggler densities which suggests that the center of the cluster probably has a very high capture and collision rate.

Image Credit: NASA

In Re Kimberlin: One More Thing


Those of us of a certain age, who are old enough to have been young before nanny-statism began smothering the “dangers” of adolescence, remember the fun we had and havoc we caused with fireworks. The holy grail of that era was the dreaded M80, and it’s acolyte was the Cherry Bomb. (Hmmm, I’m mixing my metaphors.) We bragged of their explosive power.

The charge in a genuine M80 was 20 grains of black powder and 10 grains of flash powder, a total of 30 grains. The total charge in a Cherry Bomb was 20 grains.

A standard dynamite cartridge (aka, stick) typically weighs one pound or 7,000 grains. Our mighty M80s contained less than 1/2-of-one-percent by weight of explosive, and were essentially gunpowder. Dynamite was originally based on nitroglycerin. The Tovex used in the Speedway bombings is a more modern formulation.

The bomb which Brett Kimberlin was convicted of setting that maimed Mr. and Mrs. DeLong contained six sticks of dynamite some of which were wrapped in shot.

Imagine 1,400 M80s detonating simultaneously. That’s less force than what Mr. Kimberlin was convicted of inflicting on the DeLongs.