NGC 5897
Globular Cluster
Integrated Visual Magnitude: 8.4
Apparent Diameter: 11'
Distance: 46,000 ly

Minimum requirements to view: a 4-inch scope under dark skies


Discovered by William Herschel in 1784 in his 19-inch f/13, this small, obscure globular cluster is one of the few deep sky objects of note in the constellation Libra.  Herschel recorded NGC 5897 as "a very close, compressed cluster of stars 8' or 9' in diameter, extremely rich, of an irregular round figure, a little extended.  The stars are so small as hardly to be visible, and so accumulated in the middle as to look nebulous."
I found this globular to be surprisingly large, yet faint.  It appears uniform with no obvious central condensation.  In my 18-inch f/4.5 the impression was one of a faint haze as a backdrop to a sprinkle of stars.  All-in-all the view seemed dominated more by stars than background haze.

The view in a 6-inch at 50x.  North is down and east is to the right.
Millennium Star Atlas Vol II Chart 861
Sky Atlas 2000 Chart 21
Uranometria 2000 Vol II Chart 334

Visit CapellaSoft or go back to the Skyhound main page.