The Hubble Space Telescope captured a crowd of stars that looks rather like a stadium darkened before a show, lit only by the flashbulbs of the audience’s cameras. Yet the many stars of this object, known as Messier 107, are not a fleeting phenomenon, at least by human reckoning of time – these ancient stars have gleamed for many billions of years.
Messier 107 is one of more than 150 globular star clusters found around the disc of the Milky Way galaxy. These spherical collections each contain hundreds of thousands of extremely old stars and are among the oldest objects in the Milky Way. The origin of globular clusters and their impact on galactic evolution remains somewhat unclear, so astronomers continue to study them.
Messier 107 can be found in the constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer) and is located about 20,000 light-years from our solar system.
French astronomer Pierre Méchain first noted the object in 1782, and British astronomer William Herschel documented it independently a year later. A Canadian astronomer, Helen Sawyer Hogg, added Messier 107 to Charles Messier’s famous astronomical catalogue in 1947.
法国天文学家皮埃尔·梅尚（Pierre Mechain）在1782年首次发现这个天体，一年后英国天文学家威廉·赫歇尔（William Herschel）对其进行独立记录。1947年，加拿大天文学家海伦·索耶·霍格(Helen Sawyer Hogg)将梅西耶107添加到查尔斯·梅西耶(Charles Messier)著名的天文目录中。