Hemisphere:  Northern  ·  Constellation: Coma Berenices (Com)  ·  Contains:  NGC 5053
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NGC 5053 • Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices, 


            Douglas J Struble
NGC 5053 • Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices
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NGC 5053 • Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices

Getting plate-solving status, please wait...
NGC 5053 • Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices, 


            Douglas J Struble
NGC 5053 • Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices
Powered byPixInsight

NGC 5053 • Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices


Imaging Telescopes Or Lenses
Explore Scientific ED165CF FPL-53
Imaging Cameras
Astro-Physics Mach 1 GTO
Astronomik L-3 · Astronomik Deep-Sky B · Astronomik Deep-Sky G · Astronomik Deep-Sky R
ZWO 8x 1.25" Filter Wheel (EFW) · QHYCCD PoleMaster · Hotech 2" SCA Self-Centering Field Flattener · MoonLite CFL 2.5" Large Format Focuser
Photoshop CC · PHD2 · Sequence Generator Pro · PixInsight
Guiding Telescopes Or Lenses
Orion 80mm Short Tube
Guiding Cameras
Starlight Xpress Lodestar x2

Acquisition details

May 1, 2021 ·  May 9, 2021 ·  May 10, 2021 ·  May 11, 2021
Astronomik Deep-Sky B: 60x60" (1h) (gain: 0.00) -20°C bin 1x1
Astronomik Deep-Sky G: 60x60" (1h) (gain: 0.00) -20°C bin 1x1
Astronomik Deep-Sky R: 60x60" (1h) (gain: 0.00) -20°C bin 1x1
Astronomik L-3: 372x60" (6h 12') (gain: 0.00) -20°C bin 1x1
9h 12'
Avg. Moon age:
26.21 days
Avg. Moon phase:
Bortle Dark-Sky Scale:

Basic astrometry details

Astrometry.net job: 4574676

RA center: 13h16m25s.4

DEC center: +17°4142

Pixel scale: 0.681 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 98.305 degrees

Field radius: 0.222 degrees

Resolution: 1830x1464

Locations: Backyard White Zone Observatory, Taylor, MI, Michigan, United States

Data source: Backyard


While waiting for my main deep sky object to rise, I decided to capture NGC 5053 in the meantime. It is a globular cluster located in Coma Berenices. I prefer harder and more challenging targets, but there was not much up when I started at this image scale.

It was discovered by German-British astronomer William Herschel on March 14, 1784 and cataloged as VI-7. In his abbreviated notation, he described it as, "an extremely faint cluster of extremely small stars with resolvable nebula 8 or 10′ diameter, verified by a power of 240, beyond doubt". Danish-Irish astronomer John Louis Emil Dreyer reported in 1888 that the cluster appeared, "very faint, pretty large, irregular round shape, growing very gradually brighter at the middle".

This is a metal-poor cluster, meaning the stars have a low abundance of elements other than hydrogen and helium—what astronomers term metallicity. As recently as 1995, it was considered the most metal-poor globular cluster in the Milky Way. The chemical abundances of the stars in NGC 5053 are more similar to those in the dwarf galaxy Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy than to the Milky Way halo. Along with the kinematics of the globular cluster, this suggests that NGC 5053 may have been stripped from the dwarf galaxy.

There are ten known RR Lyrae variable stars in this cluster with masses ranging from 68% to 78% of the solar mass. Nine of these variables were reported by German astronomer Walter Baade in 1928, and the tenth by American astronomer Helen Sawyer in 1946. The cluster hosts 27 known blue stragglers, of which five are short period SX Phoenicis variable stars.

NGC 5053 is a relatively low mass cluster with a low core concentration factor of 1.32. It sports a stream of tidal debris to the west with a projected length of 1.7 kpc. This stream may have been created through shock-induced processes. The cluster is located less than 1° from Messier 53 and the two have nearly the same distance modulus, which corresponds to a spatial separation of around 2 kpc. There is a tidal bridge joining M53 to NGC 5053, suggesting the pair may have interacted in the past. The cluster is following an orbit through the Milky Way that has a perigalacticon distance of 9 kpc and an orbital eccentricity of 0.84. At present, it is 18.4 kpc from the Galactic Core, with a radial velocity of 42.0±1.4 km/s.


Sky plot

Sky plot


NGC 5053 • Globular Cluster in Coma Berenices, 


            Douglas J Struble