M7 is sometimes called Ptolemy’s Cluster, since it was mentioned in the writings of Ptolemy in 130 A.D., one of the earliest of the astronomers to leave a written record of his observations. M7 consists of about 80 stars spread out over an area wider than the full moon. Lying about 1000 light years from Earth, this cluster is larger and older than M6, having formed approximately 220 million years ago.


Image taken September 28, 2010, with the Nikon D-90 mounted piggy-back on the C-14 and operating with a 300mm lens. The final result is a stack of several 10 second snap shots. ISO was set at 3200.