Summer Globulars: Easy and Not


M53 lies just about 1 degree northeast of Alpha Comae Berenices. It can be seen with binoculars or a small telescope.
NGC 5053 is a challenge even in large telescopes. Its It lies almost a degree southeast of M53.

M3 is found 1/3 of the way from Arcturus and Cor Caroli. It’s obvious in binoculars.
NGC 5466 lies five degree east of M3 in Boötes. It’s somewhat challenging, but I have seen it with 3 inch aperture.

Virgo is famous for its galaxies but there is one little known globular . NGC 5634 isn’t terribly bright , but it is easy to find between naked eye stars Mu and Iota Virginis.

M5 is located just over 7 degree southwest of Unukalhai (Alpha Serpentis) and 11 degrees north of the tongue-twisting Zubeneschamali (Beta Librae) It’s obvious in binoculars. Just 1/2 degree southeast is 5 Serpentis, an easy double of 5th and tenth magnitude stars separated by 11 arc-seconds.
11.5 degrees south of Zubeneschamali is NGC 5897. It’s somewhat faint at 9th magnitude. When it comes to deep sky sights in Libra, this is about it. There’s no balance here.

M13 (Hercules Cluster) is perhaps the most famous globular of all. It passes overhead for us here and is visible for months. I’ve seen it naked eye a few times. It’s located 1/3 way between Zeta and Eta Hercules. A trio of dark lanes on the southeast side for the “Propeller” One of those features that may be difficult to see at first, but then appears obvious once detected. There are numerous dark lanes in M13. On the western side I see the legs and mandibles of a ladybug, with the main cluster the body.
M92 is another bright globular in Hercules. It’s overlooked for its bright cousin. Can be seen in binoculars.

M10 and M12 are two bright globulars in Ophiuchus 3 degrees apart. Both are easy binocular targets.
M107 is easy to find just under 3 degrees south west of bright Zeta Ophiuchi.

M4 is a naked eye globular under dark skies. Easy to find a degree west of bright Antares. Of the bright globulars M4 can be invisible due light pollution or haze. Look for the distinctive vertical chain of stars in the core.
Closer to Antares is NGC 6144. Much smaller and fainter than M4 , it’s still visible with a small telescope.
Between Antares and Beta Scorpii lies small M80. It appears as a small fuzzy star in binoculars.

M22 is another naked eye globular. Easy to locate 2.5 degrees northeast of Kaus Borealis, the top of the Sagittarius Teapot. I daresay it’s more spectacular than M13.
Sagittarius is chock full of globulars. M28 is only one degree northeast of Kaus Borealis, allowing easy comparison with M22.
But wait! There’s more! Faint NGC 6638 lies less than one degree east of Kaus Borealis. SkySafari gives a distance of 31,000 light years. Compare to the 10,000 ly of M22 and 18,000 for M28, and see how the magnitudes and sizes diminish with distance.

Lastly a globular that’s easy to observe but a little challenging due to its far southerly declination. If you can see the bright stinger star of Scorpius, just over three degrees east is 3rd magnitude orange star G Scorpii. Touching it on the east is bright globular NGC 6441.

By John Raymond

Screenshots from SkySafari

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