Messier 56 or M56 (also designated NGC 6779) is a globular cluster in the constellation Lyra. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 8.3 and its angular diameter is 7.1 arc-minutes. M56 lies at an estimated distance of 32,900 light years. The Equinox 2000 coordinates are RA= 19h 16.6m, Dec= +30° 11´ which makes M56 best seen during the summer. The Messier Summer Star Chart shows the position of all Messier objects visible during that season.
The image above shows the uncropped view of M56 through the Takahashi E-180 Astrograph (North is to right). A 3x enlargement of this image appears to the right.
This globular cluster was discovered by Messier in 1779 although he could not resolve it into individual stars. According to Recio-Blanco et al.(2005), the distance of M56 is 27,390 light years and its diameter is 55 light years. Its estimated mass is 200,000 solar masses and it contains 14 variable stars.
Messier's Description of M56
January 23, 1779
`Nebula without stars, having little light; M. Messier discovered it on the same day as he found the comet of 1779, January 19. On the 23rd, he determined its position by comparing it with the star 2 Cygni, according to Flamsteed: it is near the Milky Way; and close to it is a star of 10th magnitude. M. Messier reported it on the chart of the comet of 1779.'
- Object: M56
- Other Names: NGC 6779
- Object Type: globular cluster
- Object Data: Apparent Magnitude = 8.3, Angular Size = 7.1 arc-minutes
- Object Position (Equinox 2000): RA= 19h 16.6m, Dec= +30° 11´, Constellation = Lyra
- Date/Time: 2011 Aug 02 at 08:13 UTC
- Location: Bifrost Astronomical Observatory, Portal, AZ
- Mount: Astro-Physics 1200GTO
- Telescope: Takahashi Epsilon 180 Hyperbolic Astrograph
- Camera: Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) (modified with a Baader UV/IR filter)
- Field of View: 1.70° x 2.56° at 1.7 arc-sec/pixel (web version: 10.0 arc-sec/pixel)
- Exposure: 2 x 300s, f/2.8, ISO 800
- File Name: M56-01w.jpg
- Processing (Adobe Camera Raw): Graduated Filter, Vignetting Correction, Noise Reduction, White Balance, Curves
- Processing (Photoshop CS5): Average Images, Curves, Noise Reduction
- Original Image Size: 3454 × 5179 pixels (17.9 MP); 11.5" x 17.3" @ 300 dpi
- Rights: Copyright 2011 by Fred Espenak. All Rights Reserved. See: Image Licensing.