I've been spying the Intergalactic Wanderer recently through the telescope. That's a much more poetic name than NGC 2419, which how astronomers officially catalogue it.
I took a picture of it last year with my usual setup: Nikon D80 at prime focus of a Celestron 4 inch refractor.
That fuzzy ball at the centre is one of the Milky Way's largest, most massive globular clusters. It contains twice as many stars as Omega Centauri and perhaps five times the number of stars found in the "Great" Hercules Globular Cluster, M13. In other words - the Wanderer is huge. Only its vast distance makes it look unimpressive through small telescopes.
Here's a clearer picture of it.
The Intergalactic Wanderer is about 300,000 light-years away. That's almost twice the distance of the Large Magellanic Cloud (the largest satellite galaxy of the Milky Way). In fact the "Wanderer" title was conferred when astronomers though the cluster might not be part of the Milky Way. Now, astronomers realise that the Wanderer does indeed orbit the centre of the Milky Way but it takes around 3 billion years to do so.
Despite it's relative obscurity - even amongst amateur astronomers - this faint fuzzy has gained some degree of recognition through its appearance on a frequently shared Facebook meme:
...which probably has more than a grain of truth in it.
Welcome to my blog!
Dr Adrian Jannetta. Amateur astronomer, maths teacher and science enthusiast.