Located roughly 3? in the sky from the cluster M10, M12 is about 16,000 light-years from Earth and has a spatial diameter of about 75 light-years. The brightest stars of M12 are of 12th magnitude. It is rather loosely packed for a globular and was once thought to be a tightly concentrated open cluster. Thirteen variable stars have been recorded in this cluster.
A study published in 2006 concluded that this cluster has an unusually low number of low mass stars. The authors surmise that they were stripped from the cluster by the gravitational influence of the Milky Way.