Hemisphere:  Northern  ·  Contains:  M 53  ·  M53  ·  NGC 5024
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M53, LRGB, 14 Apr 2020, 


            David Dearden
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M53, LRGB, 14 Apr 2020

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Astro-Tech AT8IN

Imaging cameras: ZWO ASI1600MM-Cool

Mounts: Skywatcher NEQ-6 Pro Synscan

Guiding telescopes or lenses: Astro-Tech AT8IN

Guiding cameras: ZWO AS120MM-Mini

Focal reducers: High Point Scientific Coma Corrector Photo & Visual For Netwonian Telescopes 2"

Software: DeepSkyStacker  ·  Noel Carboni's Astro Tools for PhotoShop  ·  StarTools  ·  AstroPlanner  ·  PHD2 Guiding  ·  Sequence Generator Pro  ·  EQASCOM  ·  photoshop

Filters: ZWO Red 31 mm  ·  ZWO Luminance 31 mm  ·  ZWO Green 31 mm  ·  ZWO Blue 31 mm

Accessory: Orion Thin Off Axis Guider (TOAG)  ·  Robert Brown's Arduino ASCOM Focuser Pro DIY  ·  ZWO EFW filter wheel

Dates:April 11, 2020April 14, 2020

ZWO Blue 31 mm: 13x180" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1
ZWO Green 31 mm: 20x180" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1
ZWO Luminance 31 mm: 40x180" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1
ZWO Red 31 mm: 15x180" (gain: 139.00) -20C bin 1x1

Integration: 4.4 hours

Avg. Moon age: 20.16 days

Avg. Moon phase: 69.43%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 5.00

Astrometry.net job: 3418013

RA center: 13h 12' 54"

DEC center: +18° 10' 43"

Pixel scale: 1.719 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: -173.068 degrees

Field radius: 0.660 degrees

Resolution: 2143x1740

Locations: Mapleton Lateral Observatory, Mapleton, Utah, United States

Data source: Backyard


58,000 Ly

This is a first try on M53. It surprises me that I’ve missed this globular for so long. I chose it this time because I wanted a target that would tolerate more moonlight. I had some difficulty getting this image because clouds kept interfering. I got L and R and some G data a few days ago (when the Moon was quite bright) and just managed to squeeze in more G and B last night before the clouds returned and shut me down. The colors on this look a bit too magenta, but I can’t seem to do better without messing things up more than I help. I’ve taken to stretching a bit more than I used to, and leaving in a little bit of sky fog. I can’t always tell whether the fog is real or is a processing artifact, but I think I like the images better when it’s left in, and I’m less likely to delete real things in the background that way. There is mention of possible tidal streams associated with this cluster; could that be what I’m seeing? Wow, at a reported distance of 58,000 Ly (apparently calibrated from the luminosity of variable stars) this is farther away than any other Milky Way globular I have imaged. It must be pretty large to have such a large apparent diameter.

Date: 11, 14 Apr 2020
Subject: M53 (globular cluster in Coma Berenices)
Scope: AT8IN+High Point Scientific Coma Corrector
Filters: ZWO 31 mm diameter unmounted L, R, G, B
Mount: EQ-6 (EQMOD 2.000j)+PEC
Guiding: Orion Thin Off-axis Guider + ASI120MM-mini +PHD 2.6.7 (Win 10 ASCOM)
Camera: ASI1600MM-Cool, -20 °C, Gain 139 Offset 21
Acquisition: Sequence Generator Pro
Exposure: 40x180 L, 15x180 R, 20x180 G, 13x180 B
Stacking: Deep Sky Stacker 4.2.3 (64-bit) dark+flat+bias, κ-σ stacking with κ = 1.5 except median stacking for B.
Processing: StarTools 1.6.392 beta: Software binned L 2x2, cropped, wiped, developed, HDR (reveal core), deconvoluted, untrack denoised (grain equalization). Combined R, G, & B in StarTools, accounting for the differences in integration. Software binned 2x2, cropped, wiped, developed, HDR (reveal all), color, untrack denoised (grain removal). Applied L to color in Photoshop. A little bit of levels, increase star color, one round of deep space noise reduction. AstroFrame.



David Dearden
License: None (All rights reserved)


  • Final
    M53, LRGB, 14 Apr 2020, 


            David Dearden
  • M53, LRGB, 14 Apr 2020, 


            David Dearden


Description: I've darkened the background more in this version.

Sky plot

Sky plot


M53, LRGB, 14 Apr 2020, 


            David Dearden