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NGC 5024 (11,204 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Messier 53

NGC 5024, Cl Melotte 117, C 1310+184, GCl 22, Messier 53, h 1558, GC 3453

RA: 13h 12m 55.3s
Dec: +18° 10′ 9″

Con: Coma Berenices
Ch: MSA:699, U2:150, SA:14


(reference key)

Type: globular cluster

Mag: B=8.95, V=8.33

Size: 13′
PA: ?

Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

In the Philosophical Transactions, 1814, William Herschel wrote "7 feet telescope. The 53d of the Connoissance des Temps, with 118 is easily resolvable, and some of the stars may be seen." In the Philosophical Transactions, 1818, William Herschel wrote: "1813, 7 feet finder. It appears like a very small haziness. 1783, 7 feet telescope. With 460 power the object is extremely faint. 1813, with 118 power it is easily resolvable, and some of the stars may be seen. 1783, 10 feet telescope. With 250 power, I perceive 4 or 5 places that seem to consist of very small stars. 1784, 1786, 20 feet telescope. A globular cluster of very compressed stars."

Webb, T.W. (1893)

In the 5th edition of Webb's Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes it is described as "brilliant mass of minute stars, blazing in centre. John Herschel notes curved appendages. E. of Rosse, diameter 3'. Not very bright in 3.7-inch, beautiful in 9-inch speculum."

Published comments

Doig, P. (1925)

Doig, P. (1925) Notes on the nebulae and clusters in Webb's 'Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes' (Sixth edition, Vol.ii). Part I. M.N.R.A.S., 35(5), 159.

Sanford (1989) Observing the Constellations

Sanford calls this globular cluster "a compact, rich object in a 10-inch."

Melotte, P.J. (1915)

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

Harris, W.E. (1997)

RA 13 12 55.3 (2000) Dec +18 10 09 Integrated V magnitude 7.61 Central surface brightness, V magnitudes per square arcsecond 17.39 Integrated spectral type F6 Central concentration, c = log(r_total/r_core); a 'c' denotes a core-collapsed cluster 1.78 Core radius in arcmin .37. ["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) ]

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

(Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 8.5 mag globular cluster.

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"! globular cluster, fairly condensed"

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

Modern observations

Walter Scott Houston

wrote that M53 has the appearance of 'curved appendages of stars like the short claws of a crab running out from the main body' in his 10-inch, in which "it seems to be about 8th mag and more than 5' in diameter . . it can be found one degree northeast of Alpha Coma Berenices."

Houston elsewhere notes that this globular is a good starting point for NGC 5053, "an 11th mag globular about a degree southeast."

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

Notes that, although Messier saw no stars in it, "10.5cm indicates some of the scattered outliers distinctly. It is very rich and compact, irregularly round with rays of outliers about 4' across, rising to a broad centre crowded with faint stars which 20cm will show clearly - altogether a very fine object."

Darren Bushnall

Bushnall (Hartlepool, Cleveland) observing with a 8.5-inch f/6, writes in The Webb Society Nebulae and Clusters Section Report No. 11, January 1993: "At low power, visible as a large, grainy fuzzball. At x180, a large circular haze, very concentrated at the centre. The core is granular with about two dozen faint stars scattered across its face."

Harrington, Phil (1986)

Harrington, P. (1986) More globulars for observers. Sky&Telescope, Sep, 310.

".. discovered in 1775 by German astronomer Johann Bode who described it as 'round and pretty lively'. A 6-inch telescope will beign to resolve stars at the cluster's edge, though none of the stars is brighter than 12th mag. While in this area try looking for the fainter, 10th mag NGC 5053 just 1° to the southeast."

Bortle, John

Bortle (Webb Society Quarterly Journal, January 1976) using 10x50 binoculars, estimates the visual magnitude as 7.9.

Shaffer, Alan (IAAC)

(e-mail: milkyway@gte.net, web: http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/3693/)

Instrument: 10-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector Location: Redondo Beach, California, US

Light pollution: severe Transparency: good Seeing: fair

Time: Fri Apr 11 17:00:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 118

Another nice globular that was easy to spot. It looks like the little brother of M3. The field is large but slightly less concentrated than M3 with more stars towards the edges. Star hopping may be difficult in poor conditions for lack of any bright reference stars nearby. I used setting circles and landed right on top if it. Very nice object.

Brian Skiff

gc N5024 = M53

6cm - nice, rising to off-center pip. the * NE [is vis?].

- 3' diam, wk broad concen to core, which has m11 *ing nuc. a * lies NE of of core. wide m9 pair is vis SE.

7cm - br hisfcbr glow @ 30x w/two *s consp in fld on S. 75x: only hint of clumpy gran, no *s. diam somewhat smlr than M3, just obs'd. BS, 12Apr1993, Anderson Mesa.

15cm - fairly br cl @ 38x, a circ luminous haze. @ 203x it is a br, diffuse, grainy obj. poss res but a bad night. BS, 1Jan1971, FtL.

- well res; steady gazing shows rays all over.

- outliers @ threshold @ 50x. 80x shows prominent * in NE side, m12.5-13.

165x: outliers reach to 6' radius. br * on NE side lies beyond core but well w/in brtr part. 100-120 *s res here, vfine-grained texture. overall light has mod broad oncen, no sharp center. BS, 29Mar1989, Anderson Mesa.

25cm - 180x/240x: core 1'.5 across, fades w/outliers to 4'. part res w/150 *s all across, many outliers. m11.5 * embedded on NE side of core. circ.

30cm - fairly well res in poor seeing. m11.5 * on NE side of 1'.5 core. outliers to 6' diam w/majoirty on SE & NW. out-of-focus (poor seeing) core looks triangular.

Tom Lorenzin

Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "8M; 10' diameter; very compressed and extremely rich and well-resolved cluster; 12M and dimmer stars resolved over diffuse background glow; looks a bit ovoid; 11M star 3' NE of center; GLOB N5053 (11M; 9' diameter) 1 degree to ESE; faint and barely resolved at 200x."

Ware, Donald J

:"A rich globular cluster which forms a pair with the more unusual NGC5053. M53 lies about 1 degree northwest of the binary star Alpha Comae."

Danie L. Cronje


Cronje, observing with 10x50 binoculars, calls it "quite bright, small. Central part brighter - almost stellar, but could be irregular in form (?) Next to star of almost equal brightness (very low down, less than 30 degrees.)"

Contemporary observations

Richard Ford

2011 April, 30th, Saturday


Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.

Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible.

Transparency of the Sky:Haziness only visible on the horizon.

Seeing:Atmosphere stable with little interference.

Limiting Magnitude:4.9.



Object Type:Globular Cluster.

First Impression:This object looks like a fuzzy snowball.

Location:Coma Berenices.


Chart Number:No.47(Extract taken out of "Star Gazer's Deep Space Atlas").

Size:26mm Super Wide Field Eyepiece:Field Of View:57'/12=4.7'.

20mm Ultra Wide Angle Eyepiece:Field Of View:50'/10.5=4.7

4.7'+ 4.7'=9.4'.


Size in Arc Minutes:4.7'(Nucleus)


Major Axis:4.7'(Nucleus).


Minor Axis:1.5'(Halo).

Globular Cluster is 4.7'* 1.5'.

Brightness:Magnitude 7.7.

Brightness Profile:Right from the far outskirts to the nucleus of this globular cluster it grows brighter.

Challenge Rating:Very Easy.



The stars in this globular cluster are partially resolved.In this globular cluster the stars are spherically concentrated towards each other.However a large chain of stars are observed in this cluster.

Tom Bryant

2007-03-18 10:30:00

Observing site: Pinnacles overlook

Telescope: C-8

[13h 12m 54s, 18 10m 0s] A well resolved, bright, globular cluster at 80x, and nicely granulated at 36x.

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