(IAAC) Obj: NGC 5053 - Inst: 25"obsession dobsonian

Observer: Mike Wirths
Your skills: Intermediate (some years)
Date/time of observation: Mar 15/99 9:00-10:30 est
Location of site: 10km west of Perth Ontario Canada (Lat 45, Elev )
Site classification: Rural
Sky darkness: 6.1 <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: 6 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 25"obsession dobsonian
Magnification: 170x, 353x
Filter(s): none
Object(s): NGC 5053
Category: Globular cluster.
Class: Class XI low surface brightess
Constellation: Coma Berenices
Data: mag 9.9  size 10.5'
Position: RA 13:16  DEC +17:42
During my evenings hunt through the rich area of Coma berenices I remembered
that there was another globular very near M53, so I re-checked Skymap on the
computer and sure enough it was about 1 degree sw of M53 and according to the
info on it, the globular was fairly bright at 9.9 and large at 10.5.
At the eyepiece though it was a different story, I must have hunted around in
what I knew had to be the right area for 20 minutes and no globular! I checked
that my 10x80 finder was properly aligned and went back to look at the computer
to print out a chart to give me the starfield around NGC 5053. Skymap said it
would be right next to a 9.5 mag star (TYC 1454-692-1) so back to the eyepiece
I went and after becoming fully dark adapted again and trying in the the exact
area at higher mag(353x) I finally saw it as a very faint round association of
stars that resembled an open cluster more than a globular. I could count about
2 dozen 14th-15th mag stars througout the mostly unresolved haze. I'm sure this
globular would have been easier if I waited until it was beter placed in the
sky and because it's a low suface brightness object a night of better
transparency would probably help a lot.
Upon later reading I found out this cluster has the lowest total luminosity of
any globular (21000 suns). This was definitly a learning experience for me
since initially I thought this would be an easy object. I wonder if this
object is harder than some of the brighter Palomar globulars I have a feeling
it would be since they are tighter more dense globulars... I'll have to try
for one soon any suggestions for one to start with?
Optional related URLs: http://ottawa.rasc.ca/astronomy/star_parties/mike_wirths/
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