A Globular Cluster in Serpens

Messier 5

NGC 5904

Image exposure:
20 minutes
Image field of view:
39.5 x 26.2 arcmin
Image date:

Over ten billion years old, this globular cluster is twice the age of our Solar System and can be easily seen in binoculars, despite its distance of almost 25,000 light years.

Globular clusters hang out in the Milky Way’s galactic halo, the sparse outer regions of the galaxy, well beyond the spiral arm structure.

Image: Created for Wikimedia.org by Pablo Carlos Budassi

Space News

The big news here in Oz is the first NASA 🚀launch from a new space facility in the Northern Territory of Australia. It was a key moment, for both NASA and Australia’s fledgling space industry, as this ASA tweet indicates:

There were some minor delays due to wind gusts but the launch was a success as I watched it live on YouTube just after midnight AET here on 27th June. The interesting pre-launch build-up by astrophysicist Dr Brad Tucker (ANU) lasted about two hours and the launch lasted about two seconds!

Without wanting to diminish the importance of the historic moment or the success of the mission, the launch was not the grand spectacle which we have all come to expect from most launches, because the rocket accelerated so quickly (it really did take off like a rocket…) that within two seconds it punched through the low level cloud and was gone! 😵

The private company, Equatorial Launch Australia, will be launching a further two NASA rockets next month (July 2022). The new space port is located near near Nhulunbuy, on the Gove Peninsula in north-east Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia.

Telescope:Meade LX-90 200mm Schmidt-Cassegrain
(deforked); 2000 mm f/l @ f/10.
Optics:Astronomik light pollution filter.
Mount & Guiding:SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount.
Imaging camera:ZWO ASI 071 MC cooled.


Images © Roger Powell

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Cosmic Focus

ABOVE US ONLY SKY : amateur astronomy in australia


  1. That’s an interesting schematic illustration — I had not previous realized where globular clusters are typically situated with reference to us & galaxy. Beautiful symmetry on the M5 object by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sir.
      Yes, the globular clusters (and the Magellanic Clouds) all orbit the Milky Way galaxy from a distance. An orbital period is probably measured in hundreds of million years.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I used to run (way back in the 80s) in the very early mornings (pre-dawn), I got used to seeing different clusters of stars as I would turn down certain streets, and, at the time, I didn’t know much about the night sky. So, the first one I looked up was . . . no, not M5 because I couldn’t see it, but rather, M45 (the Seven Sisters).

    My fascination with the night sky lasted much longer than my interest in running . . . but I never invested in serious observation hardware and software, so thanks for providing the photos you take.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Pleiades are a delight to see on an especially clear night. A different class of object and much closer.

      I used to be much the same. Early mornings on my newspaper round or after sunset heading home from the Tube Station, I always walked around looking up at the constellations. Now light pollution is a big problem they are less obvious. Street lights then were 60 watt globes with long spaces in between.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very nice image, as always. Counting by billions of years, it’s hard to grasp that this cluster is nearly as old as all of existence.

    Cool news about the Australia and NASA cooperative effort.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A globular cluster is basically a cosmic fossil.

    Small beginnings and I don’t see us launching moon landers but Australia is building a new niche space industry.


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