M53 and NGC5053 Globular Cluster Pair in Coma Bernices

Uploaded 5/31/10

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 There are only a few pairings of globular clusters in the entire sky. This unequal duet lies in what is normally a rich hunting ground for numerous faint galaxies. But riding high on May evenings just north of Virgo, it presents a photographic challenge. Although I had photographed M53 before with the 12.5", I could never fit the dim companion in the same field, until now. This contrasting pair of objects shows the amazing diversity of the deep sky on a moonless spring evening.

The brilliant globular cluster on the lower left is M53. Blazing at 7.7th magnitude, it spans 13 arc minutes in size. The brightest stars are around 13th magnitude, with stars ranging all the way to the 17th magnitude limit of this image.

The dimmer globular to the upper right is NGC5053. It is only 9th magnitude, and a bit smaller at 10 arc minutes. Its brightest stars are 14th magnitude.

A comparison of the star colors in the larger images is in order. Note in both globulars the faint background blue super giant stars are punctuated by numerous brighter orange K super giants.

Optics: 8" f/4 Newtonian Astrograph w/Baader MPCC Coma Corrector Platform: Astrophysics AP1200 Camera: Hutech Modified Canon XTi @ ISO800 Exposure: 12 x 5m Location: Payson, Arizona Elevation: 5150 ft. Sky: Seeing 5/10, Transparency 7/10 Outside Temperature: 55F Processing Tools: Photoshop CS2, Images Plus 3.82 HOME GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS