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Have you seen globular cluster NGC5053?

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#1 hokkaido53

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 05:28 PM

This 9th-magnitude globular cluster is located about a degree from another glob, M53 in Coma Berenices. I tried twice this month to see it, using an 18" Obsession reflector, but the object remained elusive. This was strange since I was able to see galaxies at 12th, 13th and 14th magnitude. From what I've read this object is always difficult to see , and my local skies are rather hazy this time of year.

I would like to hear from some of observers who have had successful viewings of this object.

Thanks,

Roy in Maryland
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#2 kfiscus

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 06:07 PM

Saw it in my Z12. It's ghostly. The contrast between the two is very attractive.

#3 star drop

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 06:49 PM

Twenty four years ago I saw it from a red/white light pollution zone in a 25" telescope at 98.5x magnification. It was indeed ghostly, a few isolated stars with a slight haze behind them. Last week I revisited it from a green zone at 121x magnification and it was better but still not an awe inspiring object. I saw around fifteen to twenty stars this time (difficult to count due to poor seeing). Its brightest stars are around fourteenth magnitude but there are only perhaps a total of two dozen members brighter than eighteenth magnitude.
Link to a color magnitude diagram and information about NGC 5053.

#4 Tony Flanders

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 07:26 PM

Yes, 5053 is one of my favorite globulars, a real beauty.

It has very low surface brightness, especially compared to nearby M53, so it requires fairly dark skies.

It's visible as a faint haze in pretty small instruments -- I've seen it in 15x70 binoculars, and it's fairly easy in my 70-mm refractor at 60X -- again assuming reasonably dark skies.

It resolves pretty well into individual stars at 227X in my 12.5-inch Dob.

#5 SteelStar

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 07:30 PM

I've tried several times over the years to see NGC5053 with my 6" refractor in my 4.5 mag skies without success.

I have managed to see it with my 12"Dob but it was a very marginal observation and near the limit at what I would call detectable. It was definitely "there" but very faint and not very impressive.

It is however one of those objects I always try to see every year because it is difficult. As long as I can continue to at least tell it is there I know my skies are not getting any worse.

#6 Greatshot

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 11:17 PM

I went looking for this one myself a week or so ago during my one week of awesomely dark and clear skies we've had this year around here.

I was very perplexed myself as to why I couldn't find it in my 8". I was pulling in galaxies in the Virgo and Coma clusters no problem, including a few I had never seen at all before from my LP'd yard, and the listed magnitude of this one seemed certainly doable, but I searched all over the area and just came up empty. I'm reassured to hear that it's just one of those strangely difficult to see objects, but it's proven to be the hardest glob for me yet, and I was even able to track down NGC 2419 a few years back in the same conditions. Might have to give it another crack if I can before the season ends if I get a good night for it.

#7 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 11:29 PM

I see it as a hazy glow without difficulty in my home-made 20.8X60 bino under a dark sky.

What's interesting here is that this and M53 are at essentially the same distance, thus forming a kind of 'double cluster.' But it's my supposition that this is almost certainly a coincidence; their galactic orbits must differ, with the two currently passing like ships in the night. (Unless a study I've not come across shows evidence of their being related, which would be fascinating!)

#8 FJA

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 05:24 AM

I observed NGC 5053 last May, during an evening of mediocre to good transparency, using my 18" at 132x.
It was"...faint, very faint and amounted to nothing more than a roundish glow with stellarings in moments of good seeing and no central condensation." Anything less than good transparency renders it invisible, as the previous evening I couldn't find it at all and the following evening I had to wait until the transparency improved.

#9 Tony Flanders

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 07:47 AM

I was very perplexed myself as to why I couldn't find it in my 8".


Light pollution.

NGC 5053 isn't as tough as (say) Barnard's Galaxy (NGC 6822), much less a seriously low-surface brightness galaxy like IC 1613. But it's orders of magnitude harder than your average NGC galaxy.

I was even able to track down NGC 2419 a few years back in the same conditions.


NGC 2419 is not especially challenging. I recorded it as "an obvious fuzzy patch with averted vision" through my 7-inch Dob at my astronomy club's suburban observing field, roughly magnitude 20.0 per square arcsecond. I have several times tried and failed to find NGC 5053 through the same instrument at the same site.

But it shouldn't be hard at magnitude 21.0 per square arcsecond. That's nowhere near truly dark, but it's pretty different from any normal suburb.

#10 C_Moon

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 08:20 AM

I was able to see (detect) N5053 last week. I was happy I could see it, but it was a bit too faint for me to call it aesthetically pleasing or to say that it had an impressive contrast with M53. Maybe I need to bump up a bit in aperture or gain more experience.

I find the open cluster in Lyra (N 6791) to be similar in this regard.

#11 Bill Boublitz

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 08:53 AM

Roy, I have one logged observation; 2004:03:28:05:00 UT with a 4" refractor. The naked eye limit was 5.0. Coma Berenices was right on or very near the meridian. I was really observing M53 but noted; "Detect mystery object at 10 o'clock - a faint fugitive smudge." I have a crude field of view sketch and it matches 5053's location exactly.

I have logged observations of M53 in 2004, 2005 with no mention of 5053. May, 2007 I logged M53 under mag.5.5 with averted vision skies, went specifically looking for NGC 5053 and failed to see it.

Next opportunity, I will focus my 7" on it and give it a go.

Not much, but thought I'd pass it along as we're neighbors (as planets go).

#12 operascope

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 09:09 AM

I was looking for N5053 just last Thursday night, under very nice dark skies, and I couldn't find it. However, I didn't know how dim it really is, so I'd really like another crack at it. Now that I know what to look for, I expect I'll have more success.

N 6791, mentioned by C Moon, is another one that I've had difficulty finding, and look forward to bagging it this coming summer, once again armed with the knowledge of this group.

#13 ensign

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 09:21 AM

Saw it a few years ago under clear, dark skies with a 10" Dob. A friend brought a detailed finder chart. Positioning the scope exactly where it was supposed to be helped a great deal.

The cluster seemed to resolve into individual stars just at the threshold of visibility, winking into and out of view.

#14 Astrojensen

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 12:08 PM

I've seen NGC 5053 in my 63mm Zeiss Telemator a few times. The sky must be clear and dark or it's a no show. I've also observed NGC 6791 several times in this scope and find the latter considerably easier.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#15 LivingNDixie

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:17 PM

Saw it back in 2012. Not overly hard, just need transparent skies. It is one of the challenge objects for the Astro League Globular Star Cluster pin AND is a Herschel 2 list object. So no it is not going to be an easy object.

#16 rogerandgarf

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 02:21 PM

Was out last week cruising for spring-season galaxies, transparency was average, could have been a bit better, but the view of globular clusters was undiminished, so stopped in to see N5053, nicely resolved in the 18 inch dob. Is actually a very nice cluster, definitely worth your time if you have the aperture to do it justice.

#17 Astrojensen

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:02 PM

is a Herschel 2 list object



Really? I thought I recalled it being a H400 object. It's surely not THAT more difficult than so many H400 objects. Actually, there are several H400 objects that I've found to be considerably harder. Then again, the H400 was never meant to be a list of the 400 easiest Herschel objects.

Anyway, NGC 5053 is on my personal list of interesting objects that I visit every now and then, just to see if I can see them (mostly with the Zeiss Telemator).


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#18 hokkaido53

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 03:53 PM

Well,the seeing wasn't too good that night, due to haze from the Susquehanna. The cluster was about 45 degrees in the eastern sky, so I'll try again when it's near the zenith.

Roy

#19 Achernar

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 04:47 PM

I've seen it once, it is very ghostly and hard to make out through haze and skyglow even when I bring my 15-inch to bear on it. When skies are good you certainly can see it just fine with an 8 or 10-inch, but when skies are bad it's no joy even with a much bigger telescope.

Taras

#20 KidOrion

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 09:34 PM

Have tried several times with a 12.5". No reward yet.

Which is worse, 5053 or 7492? I've actually seen the latter.

#21 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 03:53 AM

NGC 5053 can be rather difficult from under less-than-pristine skies. I had a fairly good view of it, relatively speaking, most recently at the Texas Star Party last week through my 15" f/4.5 TT/Classic Dob.

NGC 5053 is on the Herschel II list.

Dave Mitsky

#22 aatt

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 12:36 PM

I am still trying for this-I posted earlier this year hoping for some tips.I feel your pain. It just won't show itself. I need a dark site! Clearly my orange zone is not working in spite of having a 15".

#23 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 09:18 PM

If the aperture is insufficient to resolve its brighter members, then the sky must be pretty dark. NGC 5053 is not difficult in my 20.8X60 binos, and it is of lower surface brightness than open cluster NGC 6791 (the latter of which I've glimpsed in 7X35 binos on one awesome night.)

#24 Feidb

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 09:36 PM

I saw it on July 10, 2004 from the Lee Canyon Weather Station on the back road to Mt. Charleston near Las Vegas at an altitude of 6,500 feet. There was a light breeze but no clouds with a haze in the valley below that led to Indian Springs.

The cluster was extremely faint but I saw it as almost as large as M-53. I used my home-built 16-inch f/6.4 at 70X. As for individual stars, I described a faint milky glow which usually means I didn't notice any.

#25 David Knisely

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 01:24 AM

is a Herschel 2 list object



Really? I thought I recalled it being a H400 object. It's surely not THAT more difficult than so many H400 objects. Actually, there are several H400 objects that I've found to be considerably harder. Then again, the H400 was never meant to be a list of the 400 easiest Herschel objects.

Anyway, NGC 5053 is on my personal list of interesting objects that I visit every now and then, just to see if I can see them (mostly with the Zeiss Telemator).


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


Nope, it is indeed a Herschel II object. In my 10 inch under fairly dark skies, it starts to resolve, showing perhaps 20 to 25 very faint stars in a faint hazy glow (141x). In my 14 inch, that number goes up to around 40 faint stars, but the cluster still isn't all that well resolved. Clear skies to you.






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