This image was taken with an SBIG STL1301E CCD camera and Kopernik's Optical Guidance Systems 20 inch F/8.1 Ritchey Chretien Cassegrain using a focal reducing lens, which cuts the scope down to F/5. The field of view is about 23x20 arc minutes, with North at the top.
Globular Cluster M-53 in the constellation of Coma Berenices is about 69,000 light years away, and 55 light years in diameter. (But Click here for the latest news on Globular Star Cluster distances and ages!!) The total luminosity is about 200,000 times the sun. Astronomers have found a number of variable stars, including RR Lyrae stars (aka globular cluster variables) that have a peculiar variation period. It was discovered by Johan Bode at Berlin Observatory in February 1775. Bright and well condensed, M-53 is an easy object for the small telescope. It is only one degree from the more unusual globular cluster NGC 5053.
George Normandin, KAS
July 8th, 2011