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NGC 6266 (14,129 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Messier 62

NGC 6266, Dunlop 627, C 1658-300, Cl VDBH 210, GCl 51, Bennett 85, Messier 62, h 3661, GC 4261

RA: 17h 01m 12.6s
Dec: −30° 06′ 44.5″

Con: Ophiuchus
Ch: MSA:1418, U2:376, SA:22


(reference key)

Type: globular cluster

Mag: B=8.55, V=7.39

Size: 15′
PA: ?

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Photos  (1)

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Historical observations

Messier, Charles

This globular cluster lies in a rich Milky Way field, 7 SE from Antares and on the Scorpius-Ophiuchus border. It was discovered by Messier in June 1771. He re-observed it in 1779, describing it as "a very fine nebula; it resembles a little comet.. It is bright in the centre and is surrounded by a faint glow..."

William Herschel (c.1784)

In the Philosophical Transactions, 1814, William Herschel wrote "extremely bright, round, very gradually brighter in the middle, easily resolvable, about 4' in diameter. With 240 power and strong attention I see the stars of it. It is a miniature of the 3d of the Connoissance des Temps." In the Philosophical Transactions, 1818, William Herschel wrote: "1783, 10 feet telescope. With 250 power, a strong suspicion, amounting almost to a certainty, of its consisting of stars. 1785, 1786, 20 feet telescope. Extremely bright, round, very gradually brighter in the middle, about 4 or 5' in diameter; 240 power with strong attention showed the stars of it. The cluster is a miniature of the 3d of the Connoissance."

Dunlop, James (1827)

James Dunlop observed this object from Paramatta, New South Wales, and included it as No. 627 in his catalogue of 1827. Using a 9-inch f/12 telescope, he described it as "160 Scorpii is a pretty bright round nebula, considerably condensed, and rather suddently bright at the centre, pretty well defined at the margin."

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, B, L, R, gmbM, but not to a nucleus; stars 15th mag, v fine, diam in RA = 13 seconds." On a second occassion he called it "globular, superb, vB, R, psvmbM, about 7' diameter, all resolved into stars 15th mag, very equal." His third observation was recorded as "globular, vB, L, R, pgvmbM, perfectly resolved with left eye, hardly with right. the most condensed part is a perfect blaze, but not quite in the centre. The southern part runs out further. A beautiful object (See figure 13, Plate VI) Diam = 13.5 seconds in RA." It was next recorded as "globular, vB, L, R, gvmbM, to a blaze; dima in RA = 27 seconds, stars 14..16th mag, superb." The final record reads: "B, L, R or lE, towards the N.f. side, where there is even some feeble appearance of another centre of condensation; psbM, almost to a nipple, stars 15th mag."

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 IV. M.N.R.A.S., 36(2), 58.

Burnham's Celestial Handbook

Burnham notes that: "The identification of M62 as a star cluster was first made by William Herschel; he thought it a miniature of the cluster M3 in Canes Venatici. Admiral Smythe saw here "A fine large resolvable nebula; an aggregated mass of small stars running up to a blaze in the centre." The thickest massing of stars, according to J.E. Gore, is a "perfect blaze, but not quite in the centre." The cluster is seen against, and is probably embedded in, a rich Milky Way star field, so that the area, for many degrees around the group, is sprinkled with multitudes of tiny star-sparks....M62 is one of the most unsymmetrical clusters; the non-spherical outline was probably first noticed by Sir John Herschel in 1847, and remarked upon by Bailey in 1915. Shapley called it "the most irregular globular cluster" and from star counts determined that the major axis is oriented toward PA 75 . The lack of symmetry was found to be "marked not only in the distribution of stars but especially in the distribution of variables, 19 being found north of the centre and 7 to the south..." Hogg gives the total diameter as 6.3', total integrated photographic magnitude as 8.16 and the average magnitude of the 25 brightest stars as 15.9.

Morgan, W.W

A study by W. W. Morgan of Yerkes Observatory indicates this globular cluster to have a spectral type of F8.

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 8.0 mag globular cluster.

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"!! globular cluster, condensed, unsymmetrical in form"

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

Remarks, p.218: "a condensed and very unsymmetrical globular cluster. the lack of symmetry is marked, not only in the distrubution of all the stars, but especially in the distribution of the variables, 26 in number."

Melotte, P.J. (1915)

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

Modern observations

Harrington, Phil (1986)

Harrington, P. (1986) An observer's guide to globular clusters. Sky&Telescope, Aug, 198.

I have not resolved M62 with an 8inch even though the individual stars are listed as 11th mag. many observers have commented on the clusters asymmetric appears due to a distinctince northward bulge.

Walter Scott Houston

Houston recalls observing this cluster from Mexico: "About as bright and large as NGC 6333, M9, it was easily found in a surprisingly uniform field of star dust.. Houston notes that NGC 6273, M19, some four degrees away, is perhaps a magnitude fainter.

Callender, John

Observer: John Callender

Instrument: 8-inch Dobsonian reflector Location: Carpinteria, CA, USA

Light pollution: light Transparency: fair Seeing: good

Time: Sat Jul 5 07:00:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 194

Very similar in appearance to M80, but a bit less condensation towards the middle. An easy round glow at 49x. No resolution into stars at 122x or 244x. Cannot say I noticed Burnham's "unusual irregular outline."

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "6.5M; 9' diameter; soft glow with brighter center; uneven outline with brightest part of center not centered; brighter stars well resolved over diffuse background glow."

Harris, W.E. (1997)

RA 17 01 12.6 (2000) Dec -30 06 44 Integrated V magnitude 6.45 Central surface brightness, V magnitudes per square arcsecond 15.35 Integrated spectral type F9: Central concentration, c = log(r_total/r_core); a 'c' denotes a core-collapsed cluster 1.70c: Core radius in arcmin .18. ["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) ]

Ware, Donald J

Donald J. Ware:"A fine, bright globular cluster with resolution at the edges, and a bright core. About 10' in diameter, this cluster's core is slightly offset to the southeast. Stars seem to fan out to the west, giving this globular rather unique appearance."

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, observing with a 17.5" f/4.5 at 100X, notes: " (M 62) Very bright, large, rich, somewhat elongated, easily resolved at 100X. Very bright, almost stellar core.

Steve Coe, using a 13" f/5.6, notes: "Bright, large, elongated and much brighter middle at 135X. This bizarre cluster has strings or chains of stars located on just one side of the globular. Therefore, it appears to have a "beard" of stars trailing away to one side. 13" Dugas--100X, 5 stars resolved in very rich Milky Way field, several dark lanes nearby. 200X--bright, large, gradually much brighter middle, almost stellar core, elongated 1.5X1 in PA 45, "central" bright area in offset to the SE. Several chains of stars make their way out from core to NW. Averted vision makes it grow a lot, 28 * resolved."

Mitsky, Dave (IAAC)

Observer: Dave Mitsky

Your skills: Intermediate (some years)

Date/time of observation: 06/19/98 05:50 UT

Location of site: ASH Naylor Observatory, Lewisberry, PA (Lat 40.1d N, 76.9d W, Elev 570')

Site classification: Exurban

Sky darkness: <5.0 Limiting magnitude

Seeing: 7 1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)

Moon presence: None - moon not in sky

Instrument: 17" f/15 equatorial classical Cassegrain

Magnification: 202x, 259x, 381x

Filter(s): None

Object(s): M62 (NGC 6266)

Category: Globular cluster.

Class: 4

Constellation: Ophiuchus

Data: mag 6.6 size 14.1'

Position: RA 17:01.2 DEC -30:07


M62 is a large and bright globular cluster. It has a strong central stellar concentration, is approximately 45 light years in size, and lies some 22,500 light years distant.

At 202x this globular was a somewhat resolved, highly concentrated oval. A bright concentration was noted with the 5" f/5 finder at 37x. Upping the power to 259x with the 17" caused M62 to be fully resolved M62. Increasing the magnification further to 381x proved counterproductive.

Contemporary observations

Magda Streicher

1998 April 27

Location: Campsite (South 23 16 East 29 26).

Sky conditions: Very clear semi transparent.

Instrument: Meade 8" (Super plossl 26mm and wide-angle 18mm eyepiece).

Date: 26 to 28 April 1998.

Field of view: 36.2arc minutes.

Bright, very large (6arc min), beautiful globular, little larger than M19. Wide strongly dense middle, gradually working up in brightness. This globular forms and outer envelope a little larger than the core about 1x1.5. Not resolved in stars, but to the south edge, still inside this globular a star.

(no date)

8-inch f/10 SCT (EP: 1.25-inch 26mm SP 77x 41' fov; 1.25-inch 18mm SW 111x 36' fov) and 12-inch f/10 SCT (EP: 2-inch 40mm SW 76x 53' fov; 2-inch 32mm SW 95x 42' fov; 2-inch 14mm UW 218x 23' fov)

Bright, and relatively large globular, just a smaller version of 47 Tucana. First glance show no stars just the impression of a comet. Careful observations reveal a very misty round shape with star splinters just visible on the outer soft envelope with careful observation. Round in shape with a very condensed peculiar core with no real shape, much smaller than the outer soft part. It appears that the southeastern part of the core is brighter and more outstanding. Towards the northern edge very faint stars spray out towards the end of the field of view (218x) although the southeastern part busier. Messier noticed this one in June 1771 and re-observed it in again 1779. (Mag 6.7; size 14.0'; brightest stars = 13.0 mag. )

Kerneels Mulder

2008 October 28

Date and Time: 28 October 2008, 20:40
Location: Prince Albert (Western Cape, South Africa).
Instrument: Orion XT10 10" f/4.7 Dobsonian Reflector
Eyepieces: 10mm (120x, 26′ FOV), 25mm (48x, 1° FOV)
Sky Conditions: Clear. Seeing: 5/10. Transparency: Average
Scattered clouds, humid and windy

48x: Medium sized globular estimated at about 6′ across. Relatively bright and granular. Bright core fading towards edges of globular. Western half appears slightly brighter. No individual stars resolved within globular. One star close to S edge of globular. Towards west two rows of stars consisting of two stars each points towards the general direction of the globular. Four fainter stars close to the E edge of globular. Two bright stars towards north oriented in E to W direction.

Auke Slotegraaf

1993 September 24

24/09/93: 11x80 binoculars, strong moonlight: Appears very similar to M19: both these globulars can just be seen in the same field. It appears to have the same size and magnitude of M19, but M62 is slightly more visible and easily seen. Look close by due north for a very nice, reasonably close pair of stars. This cluster can be found quite reasily via a trail or chain of stars starting from Epsilon Sco.

1997 March 15

1997 March 15. Jonkershoek. 11x80 tripod mounted. No moon. Small, fierce round spot. Much much smaller than shown on the Uranometria map.

Chris Vermeulen

2006 April 13

2006/4/13, 21h20

Sky Conditions: Moderate light pollution; Full Moon

Quality of Observation: Moderate

West Village, Krugersdorp

6" Dobsonian 25mm & 10mm Eyepiece

A very feint fuzzy patch, not easily detectable, and certainly not with the naked eye. This globular cluster (M62) was a rare find one might say a diamond in the rough, a breathtaking object, and difficult to find under urban light pollution, but certainly well worth the effort. First impression under 48x magnification it appeared comet-like mainly due to its hazy appearance and it lopsidedness to the west of the object, it appeared to be brighter than on the opposite side. With 120x magnification the centre became much more distinct as a brighter core was clearly visible and it gradually faded to a feint cloudiness that surrounded the bright core.

Richard Ford

2016, July, 2nd



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.

In this globular cluster the stars are partially resolved and that this small cluster looks like a mottled uniform out of focus golf ball and that the central nucleus of this globular is fairly condensed.This globular cluster measures 3.3'x 2.5'.Chart No:292,NSOG Vol.2.

2009 August 15th Saturday


Instrument:12"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.

First Impression:Globular Cluster.



Chart Number:No.18(Extract taken out of "Atlas of the Night Sky").


Brightness Profile:High Surface Brightness.

Challenge Rating:Spectacular under dark skies.

Overall Shape:This globular cluster is well compact and small.This cluster has an oval shape.

Are individual stars seen? Yes,a few bright and faint individual stars are seen in this cluster.This cluster presents a granular appearance.

How are the stars concentrated towards the nucleus? This globular cluster is spherically and strongly concentrated as a small snowball.

Estimate the size of the nucleus vs.halo: Nucleus(14.1') Halo(12.9').

Are there clumps/chains of stars? No.

Prominent empty spaces/starless patches? There are no starless and empty spaces around this cluster.

Tom Bryant

2008-07-03 00:00:00

Observing site: Pinnacles overlook

Telescope: C-8

[17h 1m 12s, -30 7' 0"] A bright, well granulated cluster. A few stars were visible with averted vision. The cluster's south east portion was obscured.

Favourite lists

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