Brightest globular cluster, located in the constellation Centaurus. It has a magnitude of 3.7 and is visible to the unaided eye as a faint luminous patch. One of the nearer globular clusters (about 17,000 light-years away), it is estimated to contain hundreds of thousands of stars, including several hundred variable stars. John Herschel (see Herschel family) was the first to recognize it as a star cluster and not a nebula.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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