Messier Objects

M79: Globular Star Cluster (Lepus) RA: 05h 24.2m / DEC: -24° 31'.5
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder

Lepus, the rabbit, shares the winter sky with mighty Orion. Unfortunately, this often results in Lepus being ignored in favor of the hunter's showpiece, the Orion Nebula. Observers who take the time to hunt the rabbit will find celestial booty worthy of the effort. M79 is one of those treasures. This globular cluster is located about 4 degrees south-southwest of 2.9 magnitude Beta Leporis. M79 appears as a 7.7 magnitude circular glow at 129X in the 10-inch Newtonian. As shown in the sketch at left, the globular cluster covers a 5' area with several foreground and perimeter stars resolved. A 5.0 magnitude star shines 36' to the southwest.

Instrument: 18-inch Obsession

In the 18-inch Obsession at 272X (8.8-mm UWA w/ Paracorr), M79 really comes alive. Its salty, granular form is spread across a 6' area with numerous stars resolved across the face. The brightest members shine at 13th magnitude with the majority of stars resolved chiming in at 16th magnitude. The 30-odd stars framing M79 range from 12th to 15th magnitude in brightness.

M78 M80


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Revised: March 3, 2005 [WDF]