M5, The Serpens (Globular) Cluster

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Comments: This is without doubt my favorite globular star cluster (until I get a chance to see the Great Tucana Star Ball, anyway). Slightly brighter than M13, a lot looser, and, thus, easier to resolve. Yes, it's got a more southerly declination, but that is not a huge problem for me at 30 degrees north. Do you ever see color in globs? Visually, I mean? I often do. To me, M13 has a golden cast, while M5 is sometimes a surprising sapphire blue. If you love M5 as much as I do, you'll observe it every clear summer 'eve. Yes, it's a marvel. The late Robert Burnham has a moving article on this cluster in his Handbook, where he ruminates about M5, Isaac Asimov's classic story Nightfall, and his (Burnham's) look at this cluster one night through the 40 inch Richey as the U.S. Naval Observatory's Flagstaff Station.

Like M22, M5 is noticeably more flattened than M13, though not as much as elliptical M22. This is thought to be one of the oldest of the globs, at an astounding age of 13 billion years. At a presumed distance of 24,500 light years, it's roughly 165 light years in diameter, comparable to M13.

Well, I got it, but I'm afraid that this image doesn't quite communicate M5's glorious nature. Heck, this was my first real observing run with the DSI, and I was one confused little camper. Next season, for sure...

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