Credits: ESA / Hubble & NASA
M72 is a globular star cluster located in the constellation Aquarius, the Water Bearer.
The cluster has an apparent magnitude of 9.35 and lies at a distance of 54,570 light years from Earth. It has the designation NGC 6981 in the New General Catalogue.
In small telescopes, M72 appears as a faint nebula and it takes a medium-sized instrument to resolve the stars in the surrounding field. Larger telescopes will reveal a cluster with an apparent diameter of 2.5 arc minutes. The full angular diameter of M72 is 6.6 arc minutes, corresponding to a spatial extension of 106 light years.
12-inch telescopes will resolve the cluster’s core region, which occupies 1.25 arc minutes of apparent sky.
Facts about M72 by Keith Turnecliff
The best time of year to observe M72 is during the summer.