- Carl Crum ’24
The Messier 3 globular cluster was the first deep-sky object actually discovered by Charles Messier, the famous 18th century French astronomer. Visible through binoculars in a dark-sky location, M3 is located approximately 33,900 light years away from Earth, spans over 220 light years across, contains about 500,000 stars, and is roughly 8 billion years old. For perspective, our solar system is only 0.03 light years in diameter, contains one star, and is 4.6 billion years old. M3 is well known for its 274 variable stars (stars that sporadically dim and brighten over time), which is more than any other globular cluster in our galaxy. So, if you ever find yourself on a clear spring night with a telescope at hand, just look towards the constellation of the Hunting Dogs and search for this jewel of a cluster!