Cluster Crazy — God’s Deep Sky Snowballs

There is a magnificent variety of types of deep sky objects that can be seen with a small telescope or even a binocular. One of those types is a globular cluster. We have quite a number in our own galaxy and they can be seen fairly easily if one knows about where to look. They are affectionately called “snowballs” because they appear to be little puffs of white through an eyepieces. Some almost appear like stars to new observers, but as they compare a star’s appearance with a globular cluster, they can see the difference. Larger scopes begin to resolve some of the larger stars.

There are some nights when I like to run from one cluster to another — like an excited person runs from one thing to another. These objects are truly amazing when one considers that God in His wisdom would make create single stars (and name each one, according to the scriptures). Their dimensions and characteristics are already staggering to consider, but then he created some in clusters. Some clusters are really small and tight; others a larger and more spread out. Some have thousands of stars; some have millions. And, he made them gravitationally related. The centers are different one cluster to another. Some appear only white; some have some color.

Here is a sketch of M80, a cluster in Scorpius (Southern skies). It is a little smaller than some and it has a tight nucleus that shows some color with larger scopes. I can see the color because of the astro-video camera that I put in place of the eyepiece.

20120723-m80

The powerful scripture provides a little more sense of what God did when he created the clusters than the brief statement in Genesis on the 4th day of creation. I like the terminology because it seems to provide emphasis to the command and authority of God to spread out the heavens and create the objects in them. “Marshaled” is a strong term–appropriate for the creation moment when he spoke them into existence. Indeed, when people, who do not believe that God created the heavens, search for mechanisms that would cause a cluster of stars to hang together in the middle of space, they have to invent some pretty strange tales to consider how a cluster came together on its own.

Since he is able to create so many of these for us to see, why not go find one for yourself? Then consider the wonder of your God, whose hand envisioned you, your soul, the place you live, and when you would have the opportunity to consider His hand at work–in both you and the universe.

He is a mighty God.

 

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