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NGC 1261 (2,248 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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NGC 1261

NGC 1261, Dunlop 337, Cl Melotte 19, C 0310-554, GCl 5, Bennett 11, Caldwell 87, h 2517, GC 666

RA: 03h 12m 15.35s
Dec: −55° 13′ 0.5″

Con: Horologium
Ch: MSA:460, U2:419, SA:24

Ref: SIMBAD, Archinal&Hynes (2003), SEDS

(reference key)

Type: globular cluster

Mag: B=9.79, V=9.1

Size: 6.8′
PA: ?

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Photos  (1)

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Historical observations

Dunlop, James (1828)

Dunlop, J. (1828) A Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars in the Southern Hemisphere, Observed at Paramatta in New South Wales. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc., 118, 113-151. [1828RSPT..118..113D]

James Dunlop discovered this globular from Paramatta, New South Wales, and included it as No. 337 in his catalogue of 1827. Using a 9-inch f/12 telescope, he observed it twice, describing it as "a very bright round nebula, about 1.5' diameter, pretty well defined and gradually bright to the centre. A small star north following."

John Herschel

Sir John Herschel observed it at the Cape of Good Hope with an 18-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He recorded it as "bright; large; irregularly round; 2.5' diameter; all resolved into equal stars 14mag. Has a star 9th mag 45 N.f. 3' distant." His second observation recorded it as "pretty bright; round; very gradually brighter in the middle; 3' across; resolved into stars of 15th magnitude. A very faint nebula (??) precedes."

Published comments

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"! globular cluster, extremely condensed."

Bailey, S.I. (1908) A catalogue of bright stars and nebulae. Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs., 60(8), 199.

Melotte, P.J. (1915)

A catalogue of star clusters shown on Franklin-Adams chart plates. Mem.R.A.S., 60(5), 175-186.

Union Observatory Circular (c.1919)

Described in Union Obs. Circulars, 45-76, p 50. "Nebulae, clusters, etc. on Sydney Plates" as "Remarkable object; looks like a nebula on plates, but the images are poor, resolved into stars by h.

Van den Bergh & Hagen (1968)

Van den Bergh and Hagen ("UBV photometry of star clusters in the Magellanic Clouds", Astronomical Journal, Vol. 73, 1968) find that the integrated V magnitude through a 60'' diaphragm is 9.61. They classify it as a globular cluster.

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 9.5 mag globular cluster.

Harris, W.E. (1997)

RA 03 12 15.3 (2000) Dec -55 13 01 Integrated V magnitude 8.29 Central surface brightness, V magnitudes per square arcsecond 17.65 Integrated spectral type F7 Central concentration, c = log(r_total/r_core); a 'c' denotes a core-collapsed cluster 1.27 Core radius in arcmin .39. ["Catalog Of Parameters For Milky Way Globular Clusters", compiled by William E. Harris, McMaster University. (Revised: May 15, 1997; from http://www.physics.mcmaster.ca/Globular.html; Harris, W.E. 1996, AJ, 112, 1487) ]

Modern observations

Hartung, E.J. (1968) Astron.Obj.South.Tel

Hartung notes: "This well condensed globular cluste rlies in a fine field; 30cm resolves it into crowded stars right to the centre. It is about 2.5' across and the scattered outliers do not extend far; the stars are however very faint and hard to detect with 20cm although the cluster looks granular. It is a fine bright object, conspicuous with 10.5cm."

ASV Journal (1971)

ASV Journal, Vol 24, No 3, June 1971: "many faint stars resolved in 12.5-inch 150x."

Brian Skiff

QBS: * 3'.5 NE.

15cm - mod sm hisfcbr gc, vfine grained @ 80x. m9 * 3'.5 NE. 140x/195x: hardly any fld *s here, so outliers distinctive, reaching at least halfway to m9 *; brtr area 1/3 this diam. vstrong but even concen across center: no well-def core or nuc. *s m13.5-14 and fntr. very circ. BS, 23Feb1990, LCO.

- mod br gc gran-to-part-res @ 80x. m9 * NE. 140x/195x: circ w/smooth mod even concen---no core or nuc regions sep from halo. outliers reach 1/2 way or sl farther to m9 *. part-res, brtst *s m14.0. BS, 10Nov1993, LCO.

Contemporary observations

Auke Slotegraaf

1997 April 29

1997 April 29, 11x80 binoculars, Technopark, light and air pollution, 19:40. Distinct smallish globular cluster, lies just south-west of a Triangulum Australis of stars. Close north-east is a 9th mag star, clearly separated, not touching as shown in Uranometrias. On edge of the binocular field lies the prominently red TW Hor.

1997 September 02

1997 Sept 02, Die Boord, 11x80 tripod mounted. Seeing average-good.

Part of a False Cross asterism. About 1.5 arc min across, 8.5 magnitude round glow. Small star off to the north-east. Look for the orange TW Hor due south. Rating: easy.

1997 November 29

1997 November 29/30, Sat/Sun: Jonkershoek, seeing 3, transparency 3, sky darkness 4, lim.mag. at south pole 6.0 (naked eye), 10.7 (binoculars at pole) Strong SE wind. "A small, 45 arcsec, pretty bright cluster, like a softly focused small star. To the north-east, about 1 arcmin away, is a 9th magnitude star."

Magda Streicher

(no date)

12-inch f/10 SCT (EP: 2-inch 40mm SW 76x 53' fov; 2-inch 14mm UW 218x 23' fov; 2-inch 8.8mm UW 346x 15' fov)

Pretty, bright globular cluster well condensed, granular with no sharp edges, and small to medium in size. Frosted round glow, with a granular texture in which faint stars just become visible (218x and 346x). A prominent 9th magnitude yellow star can be found about 4' arc minutes to the northeast.

Richard Ford

2015, Saturday, 17th


Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible.Haziness only visible on the horizon.Atmosphere stable with little interference.

Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian.

This globular clusters stars is very well resolved as a fairly large pale snowball where all the stars in this cluster are spherically concentrated towards each other as a very bright halo of light at 75x. This globular cluster measures 5.0'x 3.8'. Chart No:150,NSOG Vol.3.

2012 March 24th, Sat



Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible.Haziness only visible on the horizon.Atmosphere stable with little interference.

Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian.

The stars in this globular cluster is partially resolved and that the stars in this cluster are relatively concentrated tightly towards each other in a neat spherical halo towards the periphery of this cluster.This gobular cluster measures 6.2'*2'.The central nucleus of this globular cluster grows brighter compared to the stars on the far outskirts of this globular cluster.

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