M7 (NGC 6475)

M7 (NGC 6475) is a very large cluster (twice the apparent size of the full moon) and quite bright, with an apparent visual magnitude of 3.3. Nearly a hundred blueish-white and yellow stars present a lovely spectacle, easily resolved in binoculars.

It's located one binocular field northeast of lambda Scorpii: binoculars.

Northwest of M7 less than a binocular field is M6, the second finest cluster in the constellation. Known as the Butterfly Cluster, it's 4.2 apparent magnitude makes it an easy find for binoculars. Note the variable BM Scorpii just east of the centre; this pale-orange star (which fluctuates from 5.5 to 7 magnitude in a long 850 day period) is encircled by countless blue-white stars, making a very pretty picture.

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1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.