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M3 / M53 - How do globular clusters appear?


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22 hours ago, Louis D said:

Has the wife ever noticed it in there?  I know I can obscure new items in my garage pretty easily because it's rather cluttered.

yes, because she noticed it was wrapped in last years duvet cover 😁

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On 22/03/2021 at 15:56, John said:

A few years ago, at an SGL star party, I had the chance to observe Messier 13 with a superb 20 inch David Lukehurst dobsonian. The view was, to put it mildly, jaw dropping :shocked:

The cluster completely filled the field of view and was resolved into 100's of thousands of stars right into it's core. I'll never forget that view !

 

 

 

I have to agree, the view through a 20 inch scope will blow your socks off!

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Coincidently a few days ago I imaged (using the term very loosely!) M3 with a dslr & Skymax 102. Stacked from 10 x 8 second subs. Now the picture is a poor shadow of a dso image however it's just about how M3 looks in a 8" reflector under quite severe light pollution i.e. bortle 7/8 sky quality 18.8ish.

Polish_20210410_024106177.jpg.63488cc33d476f90d8fb7e541d45c4ce.jpg

 

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On 11/04/2021 at 21:25, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Coincidently a few days ago I imaged (using the term very loosely!) M3 with a dslr & Skymax 102. Stacked from 10 x 8 second subs. Now the picture is a poor shadow of a dso image however it's just about how M3 looks in a 8" reflector under quite severe light pollution i.e. bortle 7/8 sky quality 18.8ish.

Polish_20210410_024106177.jpg.63488cc33d476f90d8fb7e541d45c4ce.jpg

 

are you sure that's m3, you need to go somewhere dark matey, seriously.

i can see it like that in my bathroom mirror

you need to come with me 1 night to snowdonia , you would love it

Edited by faulksy
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57 minutes ago, faulksy said:

are you sure that's m3, you need to go somewhere dark matey, seriously.

i can see it like that in my bathroom mirror

you need to come with me 1 night to snowdonia , you would love it

I refer the reader to my previous reply image :)

Edited by Gfamily
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2 hours ago, faulksy said:

are you sure that's m3, you need to go somewhere dark matey, seriously.

i can see it like that in my bathroom mirror

you need to come with me 1 night to snowdonia , you would love it

I know mate, that's city skies for you. With for instance a 4" refractor, the view is even worse than that image. Just a smudge, which is why I rarely bother with DSO observing from home. Just a peak at a glob or bright galaxy now and again if the sky is very clear in the vain hope they resolve a bit more.

I've observed in bortle 3 and 4 skies a few times now and even a pair of 10x50 binoculars or 4" refractor or mak blows away an 8" dob from my garden. 🙄

I'd be happy to visit Snowdonia with you mate. It's a lovely area. Every year we drive through there for a short break near Aberystwyth.

One good thing to happen this week is I've sought and been granted permission by Lancashire Wildlife Trust to observe at a nature reserve thirty minutes drive away.  I just need to let them know I'm coming and pay £2 to park. The approx. SQM mag/arcsec2 is 20.23 . Not exactly dark skies but a result compared to a home 18.8!

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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On 12/04/2021 at 01:55, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Coincidently a few days ago I imaged (using the term very loosely!) M3 with a dslr & Skymax 102. Stacked from 10 x 8 second subs. Now the picture is a poor shadow of a dso image however it's just about how M3 looks in a 8" reflector under quite severe light pollution i.e. bortle 7/8 sky quality 18.8ish.

Polish_20210410_024106177.jpg.63488cc33d476f90d8fb7e541d45c4ce.jpg

 

This quite nicely matches my experience of M4 with my 8"  👍 , though at low power.

Edited by Voyager 3
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I had a look at M3 through my ‘Peashooter’ Zeiss Telementor under mag 19 skies last night. It has a whopping 63mm aperture so is pretty limited, though still showed it well considering. Not resolved into stars of course but some definite texture to it. Upping the mag helped a bit but didn’t really show any more.

The Tak (100mm) will resolve quite a few stars in M13, particularly with averted vision. I find that if I look at the cluster then flick my eyes away, then the stars suddenly ‘pop’.

Obviously has been said, aperture is king for globulars, and dark skies help too, although they punch through LP better than nebulae and galaxies because the light is ultimately thousands of point sources.

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It took me years to resolve a globular cluster. Even with a 5” Mak in relatively dark Spanish skies, M13 was just a fuzzy patch. A C8 from Oxford managed to resolve some outer stars. Only with a 4” frac/5” Newtonian with night vision image intensifier have I seen globs fully resolved. But would love to see one through a really large scope without any extra aid one day.

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I had the chance to look at M3 and M53 last night before my mount decided to go haywire. In my 5" refractor from home it looked comparable to M13 I did not put a lot of mag on 15mm but it looked brilliant M53 looked smaller and more nebula if you know what I mean not as distinctive as a cluster that was also with the 15mm.

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On 13/04/2021 at 12:11, Highburymark said:

It took me years to resolve a globular cluster. Even with a 5” Mak in relatively dark Spanish skies, M13 was just a fuzzy patch. A C8 from Oxford managed to resolve some outer stars. Only with a 4” frac/5” Newtonian with night vision image intensifier have I seen globs fully resolved. But would love to see one through a really large scope without any extra aid one day.

I’m quite surprised to read that Mark. I understand the benefits of NV on globs having viewed through Gavin’s, but still, I’ve seen stars clearly resolved around the edges of M13 in a 4”, and deep into the core with a C8 Edge. This was from a reasonable site at Mag 20.5 ish in Devon, but nothing amazing, so it is quite possible.

Last night in a 12” but under my mag 19 skies, M13 still resolved easily deep into the core.

9917D465-D32D-40BD-9A29-6131DAA65AB5.jpeg

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On 13/04/2021 at 12:11, Highburymark said:

It took me years to resolve a globular cluster. Even with a 5” Mak in relatively dark Spanish skies, M13 was just a fuzzy patch. A C8 from Oxford managed to resolve some outer stars. Only with a 4” frac/5” Newtonian with night vision image intensifier have I seen globs fully resolved. But would love to see one through a really large scope without any extra aid one day.

My 180mm Mak can resolve quite a lot of stars of M3 and M13. It really depends on light pollution and how high the object is in the sky. M53 is actually much further away than the others, about 60,000 ly I think, so it's not so spectacular looking.

Speaking of underwhelming globulars, I recently had my first look at Caldwell 25 (two nights ago). This globular was once thought to be travelling alone between galaxies. It is 300,000 ly from the Solar system and way out of the galactic plane. Later it turned out that it it orbits our galaxy after all.

I could only see a faint nebulosity, no chance of resolving anything. The thrill of course is to be able so see something so far away, a very unusual cluster.

 

Edited by Nik271
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I had been saving globular cluster for clearer nights. Last night was probably the clearest night I've had in the last month or so.

I had never attempted one before. Literally last night was my first time ever with globular clusters.

I drive my 8" Dob half for 30min to get to a Bortle 4 area, just for context. I am a total beginner too.

I took my time. I started NW with the double clusters near Cassiopeia. I love that one. Moved W to Auriga, M36, M37, M38, very beginners friendly and a lovely sight. Spent a good time in M35 in Gemini (although the waxing moon was too close).  

I always go to the Beehive too, easy to find, and still a lovely view. M67 always gives me some trouble, I find it tricky to find, I did eventually find it. That was my last stop in SW before jumping to Arcturus in the east. This is going to sound very silly but my heart was pumping like crazy. 

My expectations were mixed. M3 is apparently one of the brightest globular clusters in the night sky (top 3 I read somewhere), however, Turn Left at Orion warned me: "M3 is as faint as a sixth-magnitude star". Anyway, I thought it was going to be easy to find. How wrong I was.

I don't know how many times I scanned the Arcturus-Cor Caroli, and the Muphrid-Cor Caroli sections expecting to come across a "super bright/compact/ grainy" ball of light. 

As posted in that simulated view by @mdstuart, and going back to the topic of this thread, M3 looks rather dim, I could see a lot of graininess for sure. That's how I would describe "how does M3 look like?" from a beginners perspective that the only thing I had seen before was the moon and open clusters. 

 

 

 

 

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On 22/03/2021 at 15:41, John said:

NGC 2419, the so called "Intergalactic Tramp" in Lynx

... or "Intergalactic Wanderer" as my app calls it.  I finally got it last night, at the fourth attempt. I couldn't understand why I kept missing it, having found several other globulars without too much trouble. Then I re-checked the magnitude (10.4, compared with 6.2 for M3). So I positioned the RACI crosshairs exactly, and I just managed to see a smudge with averted vision.

I had another look at M3 and M13 too. I can certainly resolve a few outer stars on M13 (150mm/Bortle 4), and I'm starting to convince myself I might be seeing one or two in M3.  I'd certainly like to see a globular in a big dob some day, but actually I also like that teasing, shifting, grey graininess that not-quite-resolved globs show in a small scope.

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2 hours ago, Zermelo said:

... or "Intergalactic Wanderer" as my app calls it.  I finally got it last night, at the fourth attempt. I couldn't understand why I kept missing it, having found several other globulars without too much trouble. Then I re-checked the magnitude (10.4, compared with 6.2 for M3). So I positioned the RACI crosshairs exactly, and I just managed to see a smudge with averted vision.

I had another look at M3 and M13 too. I can certainly resolve a few outer stars on M13 (150mm/Bortle 4), and I'm starting to convince myself I might be seeing one or two in M3.  I'd certainly like to see a globular in a big dob some day, but actually I also like that teasing, shifting, grey graininess that not-quite-resolved globs show in a small scope.

I must say M3 was fairly underwhelming in my Heritage 150p from home (Bortle 7) recently. I’ll check out M13 again soon but would expect to be able to resolve stars in it fairly easily, especially from a darker site. Going to higher power certainly helps. Last night in the 12” things got dimmer at higher power but if I shielded my eyes from the glare then it resolved well.

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3 hours ago, amaury said:

I had been saving globular cluster for clearer nights. Last night was probably the clearest night I've had in the last month or so.

I had never attempted one before. Literally last night was my first time ever with globular clusters.

I drive my 8" Dob half for 30min to get to a Bortle 4 area, just for context. I am a total beginner too.

I took my time. I started NW with the double clusters near Cassiopeia. I love that one. Moved W to Auriga, M36, M37, M38, very beginners friendly and a lovely sight. Spent a good time in M35 in Gemini (although the waxing moon was too close).  

I always go to the Beehive too, easy to find, and still a lovely view. M67 always gives me some trouble, I find it tricky to find, I did eventually find it. That was my last stop in SW before jumping to Arcturus in the east. This is going to sound very silly but my heart was pumping like crazy. 

My expectations were mixed. M3 is apparently one of the brightest globular clusters in the night sky (top 3 I read somewhere), however, Turn Left at Orion warned me: "M3 is as faint as a sixth-magnitude star". Anyway, I thought it was going to be easy to find. How wrong I was.

I don't know how many times I scanned the Arcturus-Cor Caroli, and the Muphrid-Cor Caroli sections expecting to come across a "super bright/compact/ grainy" ball of light. 

As posted in that simulated view by @mdstuart, and going back to the topic of this thread, M3 looks rather dim, I could see a lot of graininess for sure. That's how I would describe "how does M3 look like?" from a beginners perspective that the only thing I had seen before was the moon and open clusters. 

 

 

 

 

M13 is the place to start - although it's all downhill from there. With a 8" dob in Bortle 4 it'll be impressive and you'll resolve plenty of stars if your collimation is good.

But as @ScouseSpaceCadet says, M92 nearby is very nice. Smaller and fainter and less dense, it does give more opportunity to resolve many stars.

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21 minutes ago, Pixies said:

M13 is the place to start - although it's all downhill from there.

In The Urban Astronomer's Guide, Rod Mollise makes a case for M5 in Serpens Caput being at least as good as M13 in challenging skies, though he admits he's in the minority. I think I managed to resolve more stars in M5 when I caught it for the only time last year. 
Looking forward to globular season again.
 

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8 hours ago, Stu said:

I’m quite surprised to read that Mark. I understand the benefits of NV on globs having viewed through Gavin’s, but still, I’ve seen stars clearly resolved around the edges of M13 in a 4”, and deep into the core with a C8 Edge. This was from a reasonable site at Mag 20.5 ish in Devon, but nothing amazing, so it is quite possible.

Last night in a 12” but under my mag 19 skies, M13 still resolved easily deep into the core.

9917D465-D32D-40BD-9A29-6131DAA65AB5.jpeg

It became a bit of a personal battle Stu - one target I just didn’t seem to have much luck with. Rereading my post above I should have written 4” Mak, not 5” - it was an ETX105 I was using. But I expected more from my refractors on globulars too. Thus far I have still only properly resolved globs with TV85 and Tak100 and night vision.

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The brighter globular's have been very satisfying observed from home with my 8" dob and frankly dependably spectacular observed from a dark site with my 14" dob, such as M3, M5, M53, M13, M92 and other encounters. At low power ie. 59x and increased to high power 230x - 313x, exquisite. They are each characteristically spectacular, not just M13, experiment with magnification for the most pleasing impression. If picking one it would most probably be M5.

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I was observing M3 in my 8” newt last week and it was better than I was expecting. With direct vision, it was a prominent smudge, but if I looked about 1 glob-diameter to the right, suddenly it was like a pepper-pot of faint stars. Really remarkable difference. And this was in a 19.15 location without moon.

Then last night, with a bit of low moon and through my 105mm LZOS frac, it was back to “full smudge” with no hint of resolved stars. (But the seeing was quite good so I managed some decent doubles to compensate).

Magnus

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