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Object description
Messier 5 - a large globular cluster in the constellation Snake (Serpens)

Object description:

Messier 5 (NGC 5904) is a large globular cluster in the constellation of the Snake (Serpens). It is just visible to the naked eye under very dark skies. It is assigned to class V according to Shapley/Hogg, which means that the stars are very concentrated in the central region. The bright star in our image is 5 Serpentis.

In this globular cluster nearly 100 variable stars of the RR Lyrae class were discovered, so that the distance to the solar system could be determined very precisely with 24,500 light years. With this distance and its apparent diameter of about 20 arcminutes M5 fills a volume of nearly 170 lightyears.
With an estimated stellar age of 13 billion years, it is one of the oldest globular clusters in our galaxy's halo. The system probably contains over 100,000 suns.

The globular cluster was discovered by Gottfried and Maria Kirch on May 5, 1702, and included by Charles Messier in his Messier Catalog on May 23, 1764. Gottfried Kirch was a schoolmaster, calendar maker and royal astronomer in Berlin.

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