Pictures of Messier 3

Facts about and images of Messier 3, one of the most famous globular clusters in the night sky.

M3 in Canes Venatici. Credit: Manfred Wasshuber / CCDGuide.com

Messier 3 is a globular cluster located 34,000 lightyears away in the Canes Venatici constellation. It is thought to contain over 500,000 stars and more variable stars than any other known cluster.

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It is an example of a globular cluster, which are tightly-packed concentrations of ancient stars held together by gravity. They are thought to be some of the oldest objects in the Universe.

Globular clusters are great objects to view through a telescope, as they appear like bright, starry objects against the darkness of space.

M3 Globular Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron c11 sct, skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik LRGB filter set.
M3 Globular Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron c11 sct, skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik LRGB filter set.

Messier 3, or M3, is part of the famous Messier Catalogue compiled by Charles Messier, and is also known as NGC 5272.

It was actually the first object in the Messier Catalogue to be observed by Messier himself, but he mistook it for a ‘nebula‘.

In 1784, William Herschel managed to observe M3 and resolve its individual stars, thereby revealing it to be a star cluster.

Below is a selection of images of Messier 3 captured by astrophotographers and BBC Sky at Night Magazine readers.

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For astro imaging advice, read our guide to astrophotography or discover our pick of the best astrophotography cameras.

M3 in Canes Venatici. Credit: Manfred Wasshuber / CCDGuide.com
M3 in Canes Venatici. Credit: Manfred Wasshuber / CCDGuide.com
The Hunting Dogs Sparkle by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex, UK. Equipment: Meade 5000 5 inch refractor, EQ6, Nikon D7000.
The Hunting Dogs Sparkle by Tom Howard, Crawley, Sussex, UK. Equipment: Meade 5000 5 inch refractor, EQ6, Nikon D7000.
M3 by Mark Casto, Halesworth Suffolk, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 200p, EQ5 Mount, Canon 350d.
M3 by Mark Casto, Halesworth Suffolk, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 200p, EQ5 Mount, Canon 350d.
M3 and a Distant Galaxy by Luke Oliver, Bedford, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 200P, Canon 1000D, Baader Coma Corrector and Neodymium Filter.
M3 and a Distant Galaxy by Luke Oliver, Bedford, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 200P, Canon 1000D, Baader Coma Corrector and Neodymium Filter.
M3 Globular Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 Sct, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
M3 Globular Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 Sct, Skywatcher NEQ6 pro mount, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
M3 by George Zealey (age 16), Surrey, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 200PDS, EQ5 Pro Mount, Cannon 350d, Guiding using a webcam
M3 by George Zealey (age 16), Surrey, UK. Equipment: Skywatcher 200PDS, EQ5 Pro Mount, Cannon 350d, Guiding using a webcam
M3 Globular Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 Sct, Skywatcher EQ8 pro mount, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
M3 Globular Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Celestron C11 Sct, Skywatcher EQ8 pro mount, Atik 383L+ camera, motorised filter wheel and Astronomik filters.
M3 by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: Altair Astro RC 250TT, QSI 690 CCD, LRGB filters, Ioptron CEM 60 mount - unguided.
M3 by Jaspal Chadha, London, UK. Equipment: Altair Astro RC 250TT, QSI 690 CCD, LRGB filters, Ioptron CEM 60 mount – unguided.
M3 Globular Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12
M3 Globular Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12″ Richey-Chretien telescope, Skywatcher EQ8 mount, Atik 383L+ camera, Astronomik LRGB filters.
M3 Globular Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12
M3 Globular Cluster by Mark Griffith, Swindon, Wiltshire, UK. Equipment: Teleskop service 12″ Richey-Chretien telescope, Skywatcher EQ8 mount, Atik 383L+ camera, Astronomik LRGB filters.
M3 by Dan Crowson, Animas, New Mexico, UK. Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M, Astro-Tech AT12RCT
M3 by Dan Crowson, Animas, New Mexico, UK. Equipment: SBIG STF-8300M, Astro-Tech AT12RCT
M3 by James Robertson, Croydon, UK. Equipment: ZWO ASI 120MC -S, Skywatcher Esprit 80ed f5/400
M3 by James Robertson, Croydon, UK. Equipment: ZWO ASI 120MC -S, Skywatcher Esprit 80ed f5/400