Messier 52 or M52 (also designated NGC 7654) is an open cluster in the constellation Cassiopeia. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 7.3 and its angular diameter is 13 arc-minutes. M52 lies at an estimated distance of 5000 light years. The Equinox 2000 coordinates are RA= 23h 24.2m, Dec= +61° 35´ which makes M52 best seen during the autumn. The Messier Autumn Star Chart shows the position of all Messier objects visible during that season.
The image above shows the uncropped view of M52 through the Takahashi E-180 Astrograph (North is to right). A 3x enlargement of this image appears to the right.
This open cluster was discovered by Messier in 1774. According to Kharchenko et al. (2005), the distance of M52 is 4630 light years and its diameter is 22 light years. It contains 6000 stars and its estimated age is 25-165 million years.
Messier's Description of M52
September 7, 1774
`Cluster of very small [faint] stars, mingled with nebulosity, which can be seen only with an achromatic telescope. It was when he observed the Comet which appeared in this year that M. Messier saw this cluster, which was close to the comet on the 7th of September 1774; it is below the star d Cassiopeiae: that star was used to determine [the position of] both the cluster of stars and the comet.'
- Object: M52
- Other Names: NGC 7654
- Object Type: open cluster
- Object Data: Apparent Magnitude = 7.3, Angular Size = 13 arc-minutes
- Object Position (Equinox 2000): RA= 23h 24.2m, Dec= +61° 35´, Constellation = Cassiopeia
- Date/Time: 2011 Oct 20 at 04:46 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: 4 x 300s, f/2.8, ISO 800
- File Name: M52-01w.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.