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Messier 53, M53, NGC 5024, Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices

Astrophotography CCD Celestron CMOS DSLR DSO Imaging Orion Refractor



Messier 53, M53, NGC 5024, Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices

Messier 53, M53, NGC 5024, Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices

M53 is a globular cluster in Coma Berenices, discovered in 1775 by German astronomer Johann Bode. It was independently discovered by Messier in 1777, and first resolved into stars by William Herschel. With apparent diameter of 12 arcmin, and apparent magnitude of 8, it is easily observed in small telescopes as an oval nebulosity, but requires larger apertures for resolution. Its brightest red giant stars are listed as magnitude 13.8.

According to J.E.T. Hessels et al. (2007) [ https://arxiv.org/abs/0707.1602 ], the cluster lies at an approximate helio-centric distance of 18 Kpc (59,000 LY), and is approaching us at nearly 100 Km/sec. At a distance of 60,000 LY from the Galactic center, it is one of the outlying globular clusters within the Galactic halo. M53 appears to be gravitationally bound to NGC 5053 (approximate helio-centric distance 16 Mpc), a very atypical, loose globular cluster located at 1* angular distance to the SE. Both are suspected members of the Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy, which merged with the Milky Way, and passed near its core between 300 and 900 million years ago. The two are contained within the same envelope of interstellar gas, and are connected with a tidal tail. This binary globular cluster system may be unique in the Milky Way.

M53 is also distinctive for having extremely low metallicity, or abundance of elements heavier than helium, indicating that its stars formed in the very early Universe. The red giants within the cluster are believed to be the first generation stars after the Big Bang, while second generation stars are more concentrated toward the core. The age of the cluster is estimated at 12.7 billion years.

Image details:
-TSAPO100Q astrograph, Sigma APO 1.4x tele-extender, 100 x 812mm
-Canon 600D camera, Astronomik CLS-CCD filter,
-Celestron AVX mount, Orion 60mm F/4 SSAGpro autoguider,
-13 x 240 second exposures, iso 1600,
-Software: PHD2, DSS, XnView, StarNet++, StarTools v 1.3 and 1.7.

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