NGC 5466
Globular Cluster
RA: 14h05m26.4s Dec: +28°31'57" (Bootes)
Integrated Visual Magnitude: 9.2
Angular Diameter: 9.0'
Distance 52000 ly

Minimum requirements to detect: any telescope under dark skies

NGC 5466 is a globular star cluster of low surface brightness with a wide, unconcentrated core.  It is visible in small telescopes (and even finders) as a faint little fuzzy ball from a sufficiently dark site.  Unlike many of its cousins, this one may be difficult from more light polluted locations. 

An 8-inch telescope will begin to resolve individual stars.  These are the brighter giants that lie on the cluster's "horizontal branch", so-called for their appearance when plotted on a color-magnitude diagram.  In general, the fainter main sequence stars aren't resolved in scopes smaller than 12 inches or so.  These stars blend together to form a uniform round background haze.

In my 18-inch this cluster looked very nice at 94x.  The cluster is relatively faint, with no brighter central core, sporting a rather wide uniformly lit region instead.  Many stars were resolved, but they tended to blend together at such a low magnification.  The best views of globular clusters come at high magnification, so be sure to try as much magnification as the conditions will bear. 

At 270x the stars nearly filled the field and the cluster took on a much more ragged, irregular appearance.  Many more stars were resolved, but the background haze of fainter stars remained.  Many curving star chains were visible.  As before, no appreciable core was apparent.

The field in an 6-inch f/8 at 50x.  North is down and east is to the right.
Millennium Star Atlas Vol II Chart 650
Sky Atlas 2000 Chart 7
Uranometria 2000 Vol I Chart 110
Herald-Bobroff Astroatlas B-05 C-21

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