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M80

NGC 6093

The sky in the part of the Milky Way towards the centre of the Galaxy is filled with star clusters and other deep sky objects, simply because this part of the sky looks towards the Galaxy's densest parts. Part of this grouping runs through Scorpius, and on its fringes is a group of globular clusters running northwestward from the star Antares. Among these is M80, a dense cluster slightly outside the plane of the Milky Way in the sky (in fact it falls within the central regions of the Galaxy, somewhat outside its central bulge, more than 32,000 light years from the Solar System).

M80 is a dense globular ball of stars, with several hundred thousand stars arranged in an approximate sphere less than one hundred light years in diameter. It is perhaps most notable for the star T Scorpii in its central regions, the remnant of nova event that was observed in 1860. At that time this star briefly dominated the entire cluster and outshone all its other stars, but quickly faded to obscurity, and is now a very faint twelfth magnitude.

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