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Messier 5 – Globular Cluster

Messier 5 – Globular Cluster

Messier 5 is a very bright globular cluster. Under really good conditions (clear sky, and low light pollution) it is just visible with the naked eye as a "faint" star.

It is located in the constellation of Serpens and is best viewed during summer period.

Messier 5 lies at an estimated distance of 24,500 light years. It is home to more than 100,000 stars, with some estimates saying it has as many as 500,000. Of these stars, around 100 are variable stars and one is a dwarf nova.



  • Type: Globular cluster

  • Magnitude: 5.6

  • Right Ascension : 15h 18m 33.22"

  • Declination: +02° 04′ 51.7″

  • Distance: 24,500 light years

  • Constellation: Serpens

  • Best viewed during: Summer



Locating the Messier 5 Globular Cluster can be tricky, as it lies between constellations and is fairly far from known bright stars. Messier 5 is one of the largest globular clusters known

It is highest up in the southern night sky at about 10 p.m in mid-June.

How to locate it

First you have to locate the star Arcturus (α Boötes) which is the brightest star in the constellation of Boötes.

Then you have to locate the brightest star of the constellation of Boötes, which is the star Antares (α Scorpii).

You will find Messier 5 Globular Cluster about 1/3 the distance between Alpha Bootes and Alpha Scorpii.

Using the finger/hand method, you can locate it roughly two fist widths southeast of Arcturus and three fist widths east of the star Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo.

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