This image was taken with an ST-9E CCD camera thru Kopernik's 20-inch telescope. The field of view is about 8x8 arc minutes with North at the top.
W. Hershel (1783): '...a miniature of M-53'
Admiral Smyth : 'This fine object is composed of a myriad of minute stars, clustering to a blaze in the center and wonderfully aggregated with numerous out-liers seen by glimpses'
Burnham's Celestial Handbook: Messier discovered it and the clusters M10, M12 in May 1764; they and M14 were all found as well within the next few nights. M9 is the smallest cluster of the four..... To Messier the group appeared as a faint nebula without stars, round and some 3' across. Sir William Herschel resolved it into a swarm of stars with his 20-foot (focal length) telescope in 1784 ..... M9 is evidently one of the nearer globular clusters to the nucleus of our Galaxy, with a computed distance of about 7,500 light years from the Galactic Center. The distance from the Solar System is thought to be about 26,000 light years, which gives an extreme diameter of about 60 light years and a total luminosity of about 60,000 times that of the Sun, assuming that about half the light has been absorbed in space. Heavy absorption to the north and west suggests that the cluster may be dimmed by at least a magnitude. Our Sun, as a standard of comparison, would appear as a star of magnitude 19.3 at the distance of M9. (But Click here for the latest news on Globular Star Cluster distances and ages!!)
A smaller globular cluster, NGC 6342, lies about 1.2 Degrees to the South East, while another, NGC 6356, will be found at approximately the same distance to the North East.