Globular cluster M53

The bright globular cluster Messier 53 (NGC 5024) in Coma Berenices, shown from a 15-second V-band (yellow-light) exposure (in twilight) with a Tektronix 2048x2048 CCD at the prime focus of the 4-meter Mayall telescope of Kitt Peak National Observatory. North is at the top and east to the left, for direct comparison with a chart or eyepiece view. The image has been block-averaged to 512x512 for this presentation, which uses a logarithmic intensity transformation to preserve information across a wide dynamic range. The field is 14.3 arcminutes square.

Coma includes the north galactic pole, sort of a funny place to find a globular cluster even given their wide spatial distribution. M53 can make for an interesting break from observing galaxies in this part of the sky. Not only is M53 in this region, but a mere degree and a half away one finds NGC 5053, of almost the same size but about two magnitudes fainter, a dramatic illustration that not all globulars are created equal.

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Last changes: 5/2001      © 2001