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The Hercules Cluster (M13) -- Located in the constellation Hercules



step 1
Find the constellation Hercules.
find Hercules Cluster step one
step 2
Locate the rectangle in the center of the constellation.
find Hercules Cluster step one
step 3
Two of these stars are Eta Herculis and Zeta Herculis. Identify them.
find Hercules Cluster step one
step 4
Once you've found Eta and Zeta, you can find the Hercules Cluster approximately a third of the way along the line from Eta to Zeta.
find Hercules Cluster step one

Not exactly a Herculean feat to find, was it? This cluster is so bright and beautiful you'd think it was one of the universe's best-kept secrets... if it hadn't been so easy to find, that is.

Interesting Herculean Tidbits

Hercules is the fifth largest night sky constellation. Globular Cluster M13 enjoys its more heroic pseudonym because of its location in the constellation Hercules. In Greek mythology, Hercules is known for some astounding feats, among them are the 12 Labors of Hercules. He was also part of the Argo's voyage, with Jason and the Argonauts, to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Though born a mortal son of Zeus, Hercules was granted immortality on account of his heroic deeds and service to the gods.

  • The Hercules Cluster is located 25,100 light years from Earth.
  • It is also known as the Great Globular Cluster.
  • This cluster was discovered by Edmond Halley (yes, the same Halley of comet fame) back in 1714.
  • It's possible to spot the Hercules Cluster with the naked eye, but the sky must be clear and your location dark and free from light pollution.
  • Comprised of hundreds of thousands of stars, this cluster stretches over a distance of 145 light years.
  • The constellation Hercules depicts the hero wielding his club and wearing the skin of the Nemean Lion, whom he vanquished in his first Labor. The lion is represented in the constellation Leo.
  • In allusion to another of his 12 Labors, our hero's foot appears to be placed on top of the head of the Draco, the dragon constellation.
  • Everything You Need to See the Hercules Cluster


    Any telescope will get you acquainted with the night sky and beautiful sights like the Hercules Cluster. But for greater detail and resolved stars, an 8-inch or larger telescope is a must.

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    Telescope Accessories

    If you've found the Hercules Cluster, chances are, you're going to want to find more. We've got essential accessories like power supplies and collimators to help you do just that.

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    M42 & M13: courtesy of Tim Hunter and James McGaha, Grasslands Observatory at; M31 & M45: courtesy of Herm Perez,; M8: courtesy of Bob Star, / CC BY 2.0

    2009: The International Year of Astronomy

    With the theme "The Universe, Yours to Discover," a United Nations agency is bringing astronauts, artists, scientists, academics, and others together during the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first observation of the heavens in 1609.

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