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[M 52]

Messier 52

Observations and Descriptions

Discovered by Charles Messier on September 7, 1774.

Messier: M52.
September 7, 1774. 52. 23h 14m 38s (348d 39' 27") +60d 22' 12"
"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 & the comet."

William Herschel
[Unpublished Observations of Messier's Nebulae and Clusters. Scientific Papers, Vol. 2, p. 654]
1783, Aug. 29. All resolved into innumerable small [faint] stars without any suspicion of nebulosity. 7 ft., 57. In the sweeper, 30, shews nebulosity, the stars being too obscure to be distinguished with its light tho' considerable.
1805, December 23, Review. Large 10 feet. This is a cluster of pretty condensed stars of different sizes [magnitudes]. It is situated in a very rich part of the heavens and can hardly be called insulated, it may only be a very condensed part of the Milky Way which is here much divided and scattered. It is however so far drawn together with some accumulation that it may be called a cluster of the third order.

John Herschel (1833): h 2238.
h 2238 = M52.
Sweep 218 (October 9, 1829)
RA 23h 16m 43.9s, NPD 29d 20' 12" (1830.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
A ruddy star 9m in the p part of a p rich irreg cl of stars 13m, all separate, 6' diam; a v little more comp in the s f part.
A ruddy star of 9th magnitude in the preceeding [West] part of a pretty rich irregular cluster of stars of 13th magnitude, all separate, 6' diameter; a very little more compressed in the south following [South-East] part.

Smyth: DCCCXXXVII [837]. M52.
DCCCXXXVII. 52 M. Cephei [now Cassiopeiae].
AR 23h 17m 10s, Dec N 60d 43'.1
Mean Epoch of Observation: 1835.65 [Jul 1835]
[with drawing]
An irregular cluster of stars between the head of Cepheus and his daughter's throne; it lies north-west-by-west of Beta Cassiopeiae, and one third of the way towards Alpha Cephei. This object assumes somewhat of a triangular form, with an orange-tinted 8th-mag star at its vertex, giving it the resemblance of a bird with outspread wings. It is preceded by two stars of 7th and 8th magnitudes, and followed by another of similar brightness; and the field is one of singular beauty under a moderate magnifying power.While these were under examination, one of those bodies called falling stars passed through the outliers. This phenomenon was so unexpected and sudden as to preclude attention to it; but it appeared to be followed by a train of glittering and very minute spangles.
This cluster was discovered by M. Messier, "le Préposé du Ciel," in 1774, at Paris, and was then described as "a mass of very small stars blended with nebulous matter, and requiring a good telescope to distinguish them; it looks like a solid ball of stars, compressed into a blaze of light, with stragglers."

John Herschel, General Catalogue: GC 4957.
GC 4957 = h 2238 = M52.
RA 23h 18m 3.2s, NPD 29d 10' 20.1" (1860.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
Cl; L; Ri; mCM; R; st 9....13. 8 observations by W. & J. Herschel.
Cluster; large; rich; much compressed toward the middle; round; stars from 9th to 13th magnitude.

Dreyer: NGC 7654.
NGC 7654 = GC 4957 = h 2238; M 52.
RA 23h 18m 3s, NPD 29d 10.3' (1860.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
Cl, L, Ri, mCM, R, st 9...13; = M52
Cluster, large, rich, much compressed toward the middle, round, stars from 9th to 13th magnitude.
[Descriptions of 762 Nebulae and Clusters photographed with the Crossley Reflector. Publ. Lick Obs., No. 13, Part I, p. 9-42]
NGC 7654, RA=23:19.7, Dec=+61: 3. A very sparse, open cluster 16' in diameter, of stars 12-16th magn. 0 s.n.
  • Observing Reports for M52 (IAAC Netastrocatalog)

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: March 29, 2005