This gobular cluster was
discovered by Messier in Jan. 1779. It is some 32,900 light-years
from earth with a combined mass of over 230,000 of our Sun.
Astronomers believe this cluster is ap prox 13.7 billion years old, so
this bad boy is no spring chicken! The properties suggest to
astronomers that this is not a local boy, in that it may have been
'acquired' by the Milky Way when we merged with a dwarf galaxy.
The brightest stars in the cluster are about 13 magnitude and it contains only about 12 or so variable stars such as V6 or V1.