Discovered on January 23, 1779 by Charles Messier.
[From: Memoir on the Comet of 1779, Mem. Acad. for 1779, p. 318-372
+ Pl. XIV. Discovery announce of M56, p. 320]
On the 19th [of January, 1779], when observing the Comet [C/1779 A1 Bode, Messier's 17th comet], I saw at little distance of it, & on its parallel, a very faint nebula, which one cannot perceive without a refractor, the dusk then prevented me to determine its position: In the morning of the 23rd, I have compared it directly with the second star of Cygnus of the fifth magnitude; I have reported it in the Chart, & here is its position.
Nebula Right Northern near the head of Cygnus. Ascension Declination[p. 352]
January 23, 1779 287d 0' 1" 29d 48' 14"
[PT 1818, p. 444-445, reprinted in:
Scientific Papers, Vol. 2, p. 599]
The 56th of the Connoissance. [M 56 = NGC 6779]
"1783, 7 feet telescope. A strong suspicion of its being stars."
"1783, 1799, 10 feet telescope. 120 will not resolve it; 240 wants light: 350 however shows the stars, but they are so exceedingly close and small that they cannot be counted."
"1784, 1807, 20 feet telescope. A globular cluster of very compressed small stars about 4 or 5 minutes in diameter."
"1805, 1807, large 10 feet teelscope. With 171 it is 3' 36" in diameter."
The profundity of this cluster, by the observation of the 10 feet telescope, must be of the 344th order. It is near the preceding branch of the milky way.
Sweep 197 (July 31, 1829)
RA 19h 9m 52.1s::, NPD 60d 6' 37s (1830.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
Fine; v compressed; m b M; stars 11m; a * 9 m precedes. Clouds interferred.
Fine; very compressed; much brighter toward the middle; stars of 11m; a star of 9 m precedes. Clouds interferred.
Sweep 159 (July 6, 1828)
RA 19h 9m 55.8s, NPD 60d 7' 8s (1830.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
p rich; S; irreg R; g b M but not to a nucleus; 2 1/2' to 3 diam; stars 13 and 14m, well seen in full illumination of field. A few scattered stars.
Pretty rich; small; irregularly round; gradually brighter toward the middle but not to a nucleus; 2 1/2' to 3' diameter; stars of 13m and 14m, well seen in full illumination of field. A few scattered stars.
Sweep 7 (September 4, 1825)
RA 19h 9m 56.6s, NPD 60d 7' 10s (1830.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
L; R; v g b M. I see the stars which are v S and of different sizes. It fades gradually away to the borders.
Large; round; very gradually brighter toward the middle. I see the stars which are very small [faint] and of different sizes [magnitudes]. It fades gradually away to the borders.
Sweep 199 (August 5, 1829)
RA 19h 9m 57.1s, NPD 60d 6' 50s (1830.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
Sweep 198 (August 1, 1829)
RA 19h 9m 58.3s, NPD 60d 6' 49s (1830.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
Fine comp cluster; R, inclining to triangular form; b M; stars 12...14m. A fine object, diam 3'.
Fine compressed cluster; round, inclining to triangular form; brighter toward the middle; stars of 12th to 14th magnitude. A fine object, diameter 3'.
Last Modification: March 30, 2005