sponsored by psychohistorian.org


Deep Sky Observer's Companion – the online database


Welcome, guest!

If you've already registered, please log in,

or register an observer profile for added functionality.


log in to manage your observing lists























Full database:

Entire DOCdb database of 18,816 objects.



NGC 5986 (13,243 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




finder chart

altitude today

altitude (year)


½°, , in DOCdb

show browsing

NGC 5986

NGC 5986, Dunlop 552, Cl Melotte 136, ESO 329-18, GCl 37, C 1542-376, Bennett 70, h 3611, GC 4132

RA: 15h 46m 3.44s
Dec: −37° 47′ 10.1″

Con: Lupus
Ch: MSA:905, U2:374, SA:21

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

(reference key)

Type: globular cluster

Mag: B=?, V=7.6

Size: 9.6′
PA: ?

Image gallery

Sketches  (1)

Select a sketch and click the button to view

Historical observations

Dunlop, James (1827)

James Dunlop discovered this object from Paramatta, New South Wales, and included it as No. 552 in his catalogue of 1827. Using a 9-inch f/12 telescope, he described it as "a beautiful round pretty bright nebula, about 2' diameter, pretty well defined."

John Herschel (1847) Cape Observations

Observed by Sir John Herschel at the Cape of Good Hope with an 18-inch f/13 speculum telescope. He recorded it as "globular, vB, R, vgbM, diam in RA 10 seconds; all stars; a star 10th mag follows centre four seconds, and is involved; three stars 13th mag in middle." On a second occassion he called it "globular, fine object, pgbM, diam 15 seconds, composed to distinct stars 13..15th mag, one star 10th mag is eccentric, and 3 of 13th mag in centre nearly."

Published comments

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.

Harris, W.E. (1997)

RA 15 46 03.5 (2000) Dec -37 47 10 Integrated V magnitude 7.52 Central surface brightness, V magnitudes per square arcsecond 17.56 Integrated spectral type F5 Central concentration, c = log(r_total/r_core); a 'c' denotes a core-collapsed cluster 1.22 Core radius in arcmin .63. ["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) ]

Melotte, P.J. (1915)

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

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

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

Modern observations

Walter Scott Houston

Houston notes that this globular "is about 10' in diameter and bright at 7th magnitude ... I have seen it with the 4-inch Clark, and some of its stars can be resolved with a 6-inch."

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "8M; 5' diameter; fairly large, bright and round with brighter center; barely resolved into a few 13M stars against diffuse background glow."

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, observing with a 17.5" f/4.5 at 100X, notes: "Pretty bright, pretty large, elongated, arrowhead shape, resolved at 135X, with a pretty bright star at the edge.

Contemporary observations

Gabriel Giust

1995 June 19

8-inch Newtonian, 66x: 1995-06-19 "A prominent globular cluster at 33x. The nucleus is big and it is surrounded by a faint halo. Two stars, one in the north-following halo border, and a faint one in the north-preceding nucleus border, are seen, but occasionally they disappear. Estimated size 3' to 4' in diameter." [Gabriel Giust, San Isidro, Argentina]

Auke Slotegraaf

1998 April 24

1998-04-24/25, 11x80 tripod-mounted binoculars, Die Boord. Seeing average, transparency below average, dew. "pB, 1' across, R, without a nucleus; a hazy disk with a narrow fringe. Easy to see; located between two bright stars, one of which is h Lup."

Magda Streicher

(no date)

12-inch f/10 SCT

Bright, relatively large beautiful globular cluster, forming a soft enveloped around a bright core. Stars well resolved towards the edges with a slightly elongated feeling (218x). Northwest on the edge of the field of view an 8.6 white star can be seen. The very busy star field displays a few bright stars in pairs. (Mag 7.5; size 9.8'; brightest stars = 13.2 mag. )

2006 July 01


16-inch f/10 SCT (127x, 290x, 462x)

Conditions: Good

A third from east to the outside of the globular I could see a string of stars sort of divide the globular and starlight is broken down as seen from this side. On the other hand the globular spray more out with granular haze towards the NW.

Richard Ford

2015, June, 20th



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 cluster has the shape of a bright snowball and that the stars in NGC 5986 is moderately condensed and that the nucleus of this cluster is very strongly condensed.In overall this globular cluster is slightly loosely concentrated sprinkling 9th to 10th magnitude stars from the nucleus of this cluster.This globular cluster measures 5.7'x 4.3'Chart No.269,NSOG Vol.2.

2012 February 19, Sun


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.

This globular cluster looks compact and all the stars in this cluster are well resolved where bright individual stars are seen in this cluster.The nucleus of this cluster however is centrally concentrated.The nucleus of this globular cluster grows brighter compared to the stars on the far outskirts of this cluster.

It measures 6.4'* 2.1'.

Challenge Rating:Moderately Easy.

Carol Botha

2014 April 05, Saturday

Object:NGC 5986

Observer: Carol Botha

Date: 2014.04.05

Time: 00:30

Location: Betty’s Bay

Instrument: 12 inch Dobsonian F5. Eyepiece: 25mm plossl (x 60 fov 50') 8mm uwa (x180 fov 22')

Sky: Clear

Seeing: Good

Limiting mag: 5.66 6 Corvus

Quality: Windy

Dimension: 9.8' x 9.8' (Cartes du Ciel)

Object Description:

Globular Cluster in Lupus

Viewfinder (fov 5°): Very few stars visible but the smudge of the globular cluster clearly visible

25mm: Looks like a ball of loose cotton wool and even brightness. The object lies inside a triangle of very dim stars, which in turn is framed by a triangle of bright stars on the edge of fov

8mm: The stars seem to resolve at the edges giving the globular a straggly appearance.

Favourite lists

Lacaille's catalogue

The Messier objects

Dunlop's catalogue

The Bennett objects

The Caldwell list

Named DSOs

Object search

First search phrase


Second search phrase

Type of object to include:

open cluster
globular cluster
planetary nebula
bright nebula
dark nebula
galaxy cluster
asterism & stars

The Bug Report

DOCdb is still in beta-release.

Known issues, feature requests, and updates on bug fixes, are here:

> Bug Report


Found a bug? Have a comment or suggestion to improve DOCdb? Please let us know!

> Contact us


DOCdb is a free online resource that exists to promote deep sky observing.

You could help by sharing your observations, writing an article, digitizing and proof-reading historical material, and more.

> Find out more

Everything on DOCdb.net is © 2004-2010 by Auke Slotegraaf, unless stated otherwise or if you can prove you have divine permission to use it. Before using material published here, please consult the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 License. Some material on DOCdb is copyright the individual authors. If in doubt, don't reproduce. And that goes for having children, too. Please note that the recommended browser for DOCdb is Firefox 3.x. You may also get good results with K-Meleon. Good luck if you're using IE. A successful experience with other browsers, including Opera and Safari, may vary.