ω Centauri

The brightest and the biggest of 'm all!

ω Centauri

ω Centauri is the brightest globular cluster in the sky. It is easily visible to the unaided eye, and under dark skies shows as a distinctly elongated body.

Ranked at the top, ω Centauri has the largest apparent brightness and size of all globular clusters, shining with an integrated magnitude 3.68 spread out over its 55' elongated disc. It shares the top together with 47 Tucanae, which comes in at almost a tie. ω Cen is the most notherly of the pair, and can be viewed from latitudes 33°N or lower, where it culminates at midnight in April at an altitude of 10°.

It is easily visible to the unaided eye as a slightly non-stellar smudge, if it rises high enough without too much light pollution around. However, under truly dark skies, this beast fills a significant portion of the sky, its contours can be traced at least 10' out.

Despite being close the plane of the milky way, the field contains many interesting galaxies.

NGC 5206, an 11.6 magntiude SB-galaxy at a distance of 3MPc. It lies near ω Centauri, 1.2° to the ESE.

NGC 5206, an 11.6 magntiude SB-galaxy at a distance of 3MPc. It lies near ω Centauri, 1.2° to the ESE.

A very interesting specimen is NGC 5156, fortunately also captured in this field. It probably lies at a distance of about 50MPc, and is a nice barred spiral (SB) galaxy of magnitude 11.1. It is roughly circular and measures 3.8'. It can be found 1.5° south of ω Centauri.

A very interesting specimen is NGC 5156, fortunately also captured in this field. It probably lies at a distance of about 50MPc, and is a nice barred spiral (SB) galaxy of magnitude 11.1. It is roughly circular and measures 3.8'. It can be found 1.5° south of ω Centauri.

ESO-269 is a well featured, 12.8 magnitude SAc galaxy 1.2° directly west of ω Centauri. It is the brightest member of a loose cluster containing also ESO 269-80, ESO 269-82, and NGC 5064

ESO-269-85 is a well featured, 12.8 magnitude SAc galaxy 1.2° directly west of ω Centauri. It is the brightest member of a loose cluster containing also ESO 269-80, ESO 269-82, ESO 269-90, and NGC 5064 (not visible)

Some faint nebulosity is also evident:

About 40' SW of ω Centauri, between HD 116197 and HD 116337, there is some faint patch of nebulosity visible, about 8' in length. Probably it is too faint to be observed visually.

About 40' SW of ω Centauri, between HD 116197 and HD 116337, there is some faint patch of nebulosity visible, about 8' in length. Probably it is too faint to be observed visually. The lightly tinted color suggests its actually part of the IFN, weakly reflecting the light of the RGB star HD116337, the yellowish bright star visible near center-top.

Image information

Globulars, Tivoli 2016