|NGC 6540: Globular Star Cluster (Sagittarius) RA: 18h 06.1m / DEC: -27° 45'.9|
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder
Globular clusters are among the most fascinating objects in the night sky. Imagine what it would be like to live on a planet within such an environment. How many daytime stars would you see? Ten? Hundreds? Viewed from a distance of many thousands of light-years, these vast stellar associations present a delicate appearance. NGC 6540 is pictured at left in a sketch rendering the view in my 10-inch Newtonian at 247X. Of the 32 stars recorded, it is difficult to know by sight how many--if any--are associated with the globular. In fact, just the five stars running east-west through the heart of the globular are associated. These range across a 1'.5 length and are enmeshed within a delicate nebulous patch, irregular in shape and covering roughly a 1'.5x1'.0 area. Of the remaining field stars, none beyond the nebulous glow are associated with NGC 6540. You'll find this cluster 2.5 degrees due north of Nash, the 3rd magnitude star at the tip of the teapot's spout. NGC 6520 is just one-half degree to the west.
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Revised: August 10, 2002 [WDF]