M 55 (NGC 6809) -- Globular Cluster in Sagittarius
Old Stars In the Glow Of Washington D.C.
Under truly dark skies at the top of the Haleakala Volcano on Maui, I have seen the
large Globular Cluster M55 with the unaided eye. However, from where I live in
Maryland, M55 is low in the southern sky and always stuck in the light-polluted glow
from Washington D.C. On September 23, 2017 the sky was exceptional clear at
Carrs Mill Park, near where I live, so I tried for the cluster with my 110mm refractor.
I found my old friend through the Washington D.C. sky glow so I made a drawing.
Like the other Milky Way globular clusters, the stars are very old. For M55 about
12.3 billion years old. For comparison, the Universe is 13.7 billion years old and our
Sun/Earth system is about 4.6 billion. I was able to just start to resolve the brighter
members of M55 using a higher power eyepiece. Still, I hope to see M55 again, as
she was meant to be seen, under clear dark skies.