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NGC 6273 (14,143 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Messier 19

NGC 6273, C 1659-262, GCl 52, HD 153799, Bennett 86, Messier 19, h 1975, h 3663, GC 4264

RA: 17h 02m 37.69s
Dec: −26° 16′ 4.6″

Con: Ophiuchus
Ch: MSA:1395, U2:337, SA:22


(reference key)

Type: globular cluster

Mag: B=8.45, V=7.47

Size: 17′
PA: ?


This 7th magnitude cluster was discovered by Messier.

Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

In the Philosophical Transactions, 1814, William Herschel wrote "Common 10 feet telescope. When the 19th of the Connoissance des Temps is viewed with a magnifying power of 120, the stars are visible; the cluster is insulated; some of the small stars scattered in the neighbourhood are near it; but they are larger than those belonging to the cluster. With 240 is it better resolved, and is much condensed in the centre. With 300 no nucleus or central body can be seen. The diameter with the 10 feet is 3' 16 arcseconds, and the stars in the centre are too accumulated to be separately seen." In the Philosophical Transactions, 1818, William Herschel wrote: "1783, 10 feet telescope With 250 power I can see 5 or 6 stars, and all the rest appears mottled like other objects of this kind, when not sufficiently magnified or illuminated. 1784, 20 feet telescope. a cluster of very compressed stars, much accumulated in the middle; 4 or 5' diameter."

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, diam 10', resolved into stars 16th mag." On a second occassion he called it "superb globular, gmbM, but not to a nucleus; diam of B part = 12 seconds, of whole cluster to edge = 17 seconds; resolved into stars 14, 14, 16th mag."

NGC/IC Dreyer (1888, 1895, 1908)

The NGC description reads: "globular, very bright, large, round, very compressed in the middle, clearly resolved into stars of 16th magnitude."

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 II. M.N.R.A.S., 35(8), 280.

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"!! globular cluster, condensed"

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

Morgan, W.W

A study by W. W. Morgan of Yerkes Observatory indicates this globular cluster to have a spectral type of F5.

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

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

Harris, W.E. (1997)

RA 17 02 37.7 (2000) Dec -26 16 05 Integrated V magnitude 6.77 Central surface brightness, V magnitudes per square arcsecond 16.82 Integrated spectral type F7 Central concentration, c = log(r_total/r_core); a 'c' denotes a core-collapsed cluster 1.53 Core radius in arcmin .43. ["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.

Modern observations

Walter Scott Houston

Houston notes that Messier found the cluster from Paris, and that this "is a tribute to his observing skill. Even in the northern United States, where the cluster climbs nearly 10 degrees higher in the sky than at Paris, M19 is not especially well placed for viewing. John Mallas, whose locating in southern California was more suitable for examining M19, remarked that the globular is a miniature of the great Omega Centauri. M19 is 5' in diameter and a bright 6.6 magnitude. Under good skies it is easily seen in most telescope finders."

Houston recalls observing this cluster from Mexico and notes that M19 is perhaps a magnitude fainter.than NGC 6333, M9, which is some four degrees away.

Bennett, Jack

Bennett observed it with a 5-inch short-focus refractor, including it in his list of cometary objects as number 86.

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the e-version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "7M; 5' diameter; bright, large and compressed; resolved to 13M members; two 13M stars bracket N sector; GLOB N6284 is 1.5 degrees to NNE; GLOB N6293 is 1.5 degrees E and a little S."

Mitsky, Dave (IAAC)

Observer: Dave Mitsky; Your skills: Intermediate (some years); Date/time of observation: 06/19/98 05:20 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: 144x, 259x; Filter(s): None

Description: M19 is a fairly large and somewhat concentrated globular cluster that is about 65 light years in size and is approximately 22,500 light years distant. M19 was easily visible in the 5" f/5 finder scope. Through the 17" at 144x it appeared as oval shaped with 2 bright outlying stars and was partially resolved. Increasing the magnification to 259x resulted in a beautiful view of a fully resolved globular cluster. A line of faint, almost equidistant field stars was noted to the west of M19.

Ware, Donald J

Donald J. Ware:"This globular appeared as an milky patch of light about 8' in diameter, with resolution around the edges. Its granular core is flanked by two stars, one to the northwest, and one to the northeast, and appears somewhat ovoid in shape."

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 07:45:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 199

Larger and brighter than NGC 6293, fairly uniform (i.e., not condensed). A somewhat oblong glow, appearing longer north/south than east/west. Begins to show hints of resolution at 122x. Checking Burnham's afterwards, was gratified to read that "M19 is one of the most oblate globulars." PSS print also shows the obvious elongation north/south.

Head, Marilyn

"10 Easy Globs!" by Marilyn Head (105 Owen Street, Newton, Wellington, Aotearoa / New Zealand; mhead@clear.net.nz)

"M9 is like a faint oval smudge and makes a nice contrast to the more rounded globulars in the same constellation. Above Xi Oph. are three stars on an angle, M19 lies to left of the top one. Although M9 and M19 have the same Shapley class of VIII, to an observer they differ in overall shape and 'texture' in that M9 has lots of what Hartung calls "outliers" i.e. stars scatttered away from the core, whereas M19 has almost none, the cluster appearing more homogeneous."

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, using a 13" f/5.6, notes: "Bright, large, elongated 1.5 X 1 and well resolved at 165X. It can be seen in the finderscope from a dark site. This was a showpiece object in my old 18", it consists of the finest stardust at 175X. M 19 also swims in a lovely Milky Way field. Cherry Rd 7/10-- 13" 100X-bright, large, elongated 1.5X1 in PA 0 (N-S), bright middle, 2 stars of 11th mag at edge of cluster, one at NE edge, one at NW. Just resolved into fine stardust at 100X. Easy in 11x80 finder."

Contemporary observations

Auke Slotegraaf


In a 2-inch refractor at 20x both M 19 and the globular NGC 6293 lie in the same field. A very cute pair of double stars lies on opposite sides of the field, with the globular to the south and west of these two pairs. The cluster is large and bright, "singularly globular-like", shows no starlike concentration in centre, with a smooth disc.


A 15.5-inch telescope shows a prominent bright globular cluster lying in a rich starfield. There are only two prominent field stars, and these appear superimposed on the cluster; both are quite faint and lie on the northwest and northeast edge of the cluster. The cluster appears asymmetrically concentrated, as if the stars gather at its northern edge, leaving the southern edge more diffuse. Overall mottled appearance. A number of short chains can be glimpsed in the nucleus; these appear as brighter patches in the nucleus. Whilst sweeping for the globular, the field of view just clipped the southern fringe, and it was immediately noticed, so the globular is clearly well distinguished from its surroundings.

1993 September 24

24/09/93: 11x80 binoculars, strong moonlight: Easy in binoculars, lies in a busy field of small stars. The most striking of these field stars are 3 wide pairs of bright stars to the east, northeast and northwest. The east and northeast pairs are aligned in the same PA. The cluster can be readily seen (even though there is strong moonlight) and appears about the same size as the bright "solid" disk of M4.

1998 April 27

1998-04-27/28, 11x80 tripod-mounted binoculars, Die Boord. Seeing average, transparency average, dew. "Bright, round, broad-centred globular cluster, 4' across. Easy."

Kerneels Mulder

2008 October 28

Date and Time: 28 October 2008, 20:30
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

120x: Medium sized globular estimated at about 5′ across. Relatively bright. Brightens slightly toward nucleus. At 120x becomes granular in appearance making it almost possible to resolve stars within the cluster. 2 stars visible at outer edge of globular, one to the East and one towards the North. A row of 3 faint stars are visible to the NW aligned roughly from NE to SW.

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.

Large, faint, but smaller (4arc min) than NGC 6266. Granular appearance with faint stars and haziness to the edges resembles a little elongated impression. Uneven with no sharp edges but rises slowly to a brighter compressed middle. Outstanding star to the north proceeding.

(no date)

12-inch f/10 SCT (EP: 2-inch 32mm SW 95x 42' fov; 2-inch 14mm UW 218x 23' fov)

Slightly larger than Bennett 85 but with a very special feeling to it and a frosted look. Soft cotton ball, displays a fleecy speckled edge that breeze the faint stars away. Two stars can be seen quite easy embedded but it could be field-stars. An unusual bright star-like core and see as a whole the globular is slightly elongated in a north to south direction. The very busy star-field holds this outstanding globular in its palm. (Mag 6.7; size 13.5'; brightest stars = 14.0 mag. )

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.

This globular clusters stars are well resolved and that this cluster is moderately condensed as a bright out of focus snowball.The central nucleus of this cluster is strongly concentrated as a spherical halo of faint light.This globular cluster measures 3.5'x 2.6'.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:Very Bright.

Brightness Profile:High Surface Brightness.

Challenge Rating:Dark skies are a requirement for this globular cluster.

Overall Shape:This cluster has a well defined and oval shape,with bright individual stars in the center of this cluster.

Are individual stars seen? Yes,this globular cluster is partially resolved into bright individual stars.

How are the stars concentrated towards the nucleus? The stars in this globular cluster is tightly concentrated towards each other.

Estimate the size of the nucleus vs.halo: Nucleus(13.5') Halo(12.2').

Are there clumps/chains of stars? Yes,there are bright individual chains of stars concentrated into hundreds of thousands of stars.

Prominent empty spaces/starless patches? On the outskirts of this globular cluster there are slight empty spaces between each bright individual star.

Tom Bryant

2008-07-03 00:00:00

Observing site: Pinnacles overlook

Telescope: C-8

[17h 2m 36s, -26 16' 0"] A large, bright, and rich cluster. 3-5 stars were visible with direct vision, and around 100 with averted. In a rich area of the Milky Way.

Favourite lists

Lacaille's catalogue

The Messier objects

Dunlop's catalogue

The Bennett objects

The Caldwell list

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