GLOBULAR CLUSTERS

G1 in Andromeda.  To show that globular clusters are not limited to our galaxy, this 30 minute image through the C-14 telescope is of the globular cluster known simply as G1.  This cluster is not in our galaxy but is associated with the 2.5 million light years distant galaxy, Messier 31.  G1 is the fuzzy three pointed object to the upper left of the bright triangle of stars just above centre.

Messier 2, this time in our Milky Way galaxy, is a fine globular cluster in the constellation of Aquarius. It was discovered in 1746 by Maroldi and was added to Messier's catalogue in 1760. M2 is about 36,800 light years away from us and has a well compressed, intense core. In spite of the intensity of the core, many stars can be resolved and there are several star chains radiating outwards from the centre. 

Messier 3  A very pretty globular cluster in Canes Venatici. This cluster does not have the grandeur of M13, but we think it is more delicate. This image was taken in Spain on 12th May, 2018 using the Planewave scope and QSI camera.  

Messier 4  in Scorpius, was not discovered by Messier at all, but by a Monsieur de Cheseaux in 1746. It is surprisingly disappointing in my opinion, being fairly dim, even though it is only 6,500 light years distant. A possible reason for this is the abundance of older, yellow and red stars in this cluster, reducing its intrinsic luminosity.

Messier 5 in Serpens is one of my favourite globular clusters and is almost as bright and interesting as the famous M13. It is 85 light years in diameter and 24,500 light years distant from us. This image is an LRGB of 30 minutes for each component, taken on 10th July, 2020 using the Planewave scope and QSI 683 CCD camera.

Messier 9 in the constellation of Ophiuchus is actually the first of the five discovered by Messier in this part of the sky. It is about 25,000 light years distant and is the nearest cluster to the centre of our Milky Way galaxy.

Messier 10 discovered by Messier on May 29th, 1764, a day before finding M12.  M10 is is the nearest of the globular clusters in Ophiuchus and is about 15,000 light years away.

Messier 12  was discovered the day after M10. This is one of eight globular clusters in Ophiuchus which Messier entered into his catalogue. This object is about 19,500 light years distant.

Messier 13 The great "Globular Cluster" in Hercules. 25,000 light years distant, and containing 500,000 stars, this jewel of the northern skies was imaged at our Spanish observatory on 17th August 2015 using the 12.5 inch Planewave scope and QSI 683 camera.  This is an LRGB of 50 minutes luminance and 40 minutes for the colours.

Messier 14 was discovered on 1st June, 1764 - a busy year for our old French friend. In fact he discovered five globular clusters between 28th May and 5th June of that year. This one is about 33,000 light years away and is the furthest away of the Ophiuchus clusters. M14 is a very large and bright cluster, with a diameter in excess of 110 light years.

Messier 15 A shot of this excellent globular cluster, taken through our Planewave telescope and using the QSI 683 camera. This is an LRGB of 17:12:12:12 minutes.  M15 was first seen by Messier in 1764, it lies 30,600 light years away and has a diameter of about 130 light years.

Messier 19 was discovered on 5th June, 1764 - the last of the five to be found. It is about 28,000 light years away and is a really pretty object, with a lot of associated stars and star chains surrounding it.

Messier 22 in the constellation of Sagittarius was the first globular cluster to be seen as such - i.e. a ball of stars. The famous "Omega Centauri" was catalogued in the 2nd century A.D., but only as a star. At a distance of 10,000 light years M22 is one of the nearest globulars, with an absolute magnitude of -8.5, a luminosity of 210,000 suns, and a diameter of 70 light years. This image was taken on 2nd July, 2021 at our Spanish observatory.

Messier 28 is a globular cluster in Sagittarius. The cluster was actually spotted by Messier on July 27, 1764 as "a nebula containing no star" but of course we now know different! About 19,000 light years away, this image is an LRGB of 20:15:15:15 minutes, taken in Spain on 21st June, 2017. 

Messier 30 in Capricornus is a fairly small but bright globular cluster, discovered by Charles Messier in August 1764. The stars in the cluster are well resolved and there is an extensive halo, with chains of stars extending outwards. M30 is at a distance of 26,700 light years.

Messier 53 in Coma Berenices is another very nice globular cluster. It is one of the more outlying clusters, being approximately 60,000 light years from the galactic centre. It is also about the same distance from our solar system. This is a 10 minute luminance with the C14.

Messier 54 in Sagittarius was discovered in July 1778 by Messier himself. It is about 68,000 light years away and therefore twice as bright as its immediate neighbours, M69 and M70. It is much above average in luminosity for a globular cluster, with a brilliance equivalent to 480,000 suns. This image is an LRGB of 20:15:15:15 minutes taken in Spain on 21stt June, 2017.

Messier 55 is a globular cluster in Sagittarius.  It is one of the more spectacular, with hundreds of stars visible in telescopes with only moderate power. With a diameter of 15 arc minutes it is quite large and this is an LRGB of 30 minutes for each component, taken using the 12.5" Planewave telescope and QSI 683 camera.

Messier 56 is a small globular cluster in the constellation of Lyra, discovered by Messier on 19th January, 1779, the same night he discovered the "comet of 1779". M56 lies 31,000 light years away from us.  This image, which has been left in monochrome, shows well resolved stars in the core of the cluster.

Messier 62 is in Ophiuchus. Messier missed this one during his earlier discoveries in this constellation and it was not catalogued until 7th June, 1771, a full seven years after he found M9 and the rest. That would explain the out-of-sequence number, which is very odd when you're Messier hunting. It is 20,500 light years distant and quite bright, which makes us wonder why he missed it first time around.

Messier 68 in Hydra is very low in the sky for northern observers. It was discovered by Charles Messier himself in 1780 and is 33,000 light years from Earth. This is a 20 minute luminance in the C14.

Messier 69 in Sagittarius. A smaller globular cluster 28,000 light years from us and about 55 light years in diameter. It is a metal rich globular and it's stars show a relatively high abundance of elements heavier than helium, confirming that the cluster formed at early cosmic times when the universe contained less heavier elements. This image was taken on 13th June, 2013 using the Planewave telescope and QSI 683 camera. It is an LRGB of 20:15:15:15 minutes.

Messier 70 is also in Sagittarius. Alongside M69 in the sky, M70 is about the same size (7.8 arc minutes in diameter) and slightly further away at 29,400 light years.  The core is extremely dense, and the cluster has undergone core collapse at some point, in common with about 29 of the 147 known Milky Way globulars. This cluster became famous in 1995 when Hale and Bopp were observing it when they spotted the comet.  This image was taken on 13th June, 2013 using the Planewave telescope and QSI 683 camera. It is an LRGB of 20:15:15:15 minutes. 

Messier 71 in Sagitta is a globular cluster about which there has been some argument.  It lacks the central compression and other features of a "normal" globular but recent studies have detected globular characteristics. It is relatively young for a globular, at 9-10 billion years, and is a bit of an enigma. 12,000 light years distant and with a luminosity of only 13,200 suns, but just look at all the fainter background stars.

Messier 72 in Aquarius is one of the smaller and fainter globular clusters in Messier's list. It is 53,000 light years away and is a considerable distance beyond the galactic centre.  This is a 15 minute luminance image with the C14 telescope.

Messier 79 is in Lepus, just beneath Orion.  It was also discovered by Mechain, in October 1790 and it's distance from Earth is about 41,000 light years. It has a large, dense core but the cluster is quite well resolved. This image is an LRGB compilation of 5 minute images (30:30:30:30). 

Messier 80 is in the constellation of Scorpius and was discovered by Messier on 4th January, 1781. In doing this he beat his rival, Mechain by three weeks. M80 is about 28,000 light years away from us, which puts it about four times more distant than Messier 4

Messier 92 in the constellation of Hercules. This beautiful globular cluster is so often overlooked because there are few pointer stars in that area of the sky to help you to find it. Actually, it isn't that difficult, and M92 is a very compact, round object as the image shows. The camera was 2x2 binned for this image - 20 white, 5 each of the colors, with an exposure time of 20 seconds.

Messier 107 in the constellation of Ophiuchus is a very nice globular cluster at a distance of about 20,000 light years. It shines at a visual magnitude of 8.1.

NGC 5139 (Omega Centauri) is the largest and brightest globular cluster in the sky. It is a southern skies object, but it is visible during late Spring and Summer months from lower latitudes of the USA and Europe. This LRGB (20:15:15:15 mins) was taken with the Takahashi FSQ scope and ST8 camera. Omega Centauri contains about a million stars and is 15,600 light years distant.

Palomar 4 in Ursa Major (also known as "Serpens Dwarf") . The second most remote globular cluster in our galaxy it is rarely imaged and partially obscured by dust from our own galaxy. Imaged on 23rd April, 2009 at the Observatorio de La Divisa in Spain, this is an LRGB of 20  minutes for each component using the C14 at f/7 and ST10-XME camera.