Messier 56


Messier 56 (or M56) is a globular cluster in the constellation Lyra. It appears to be a slightly fuzzy star in large binoculars or a small telescope, but the cluster can be resolved using a telescope with an aperture of 20 cm or larger.

M56 is at a distance of about 32,900 light-years from Earth and measures around 84 light-years across, with a combined mass some 230,000[4] times that of the Sun. Because the cluster appears to be 13.7 billion years and is following a retrograde orbit through the Milky Way, it is believed to be part of the Gaia Sausage, the remains of a dwarf galaxy that merged with the Milky Way.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA