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Glenn Chaple's observing basics: Bust out the big boy

August 2006: Stellafane's rich history sets it apart from other astronomy conventions.
"##$@&!" my brother-in-law gasped as he peered into the eyepiece of my 13-inch reflector. Michael is a gentle soul, not prone to blurt out profanities — even mild ones. In this instance, I couldn't blame him. He was reacting to his first-ever view of the magnificent globular cluster M13 (NGC 6205) in Hercules. As the name implies, a globular star cluster is a spherical aggregation of stars — not hundreds, as is the case with open clusters like the Pleiades, but thousands upon thousands. If the lights of a small village represented an open cluster, a globular cluster would be the cosmic equivalent of London or New York City.

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