M54 or Messier 54 (also known as NGC 6715) is a globular cluster in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1778 and then included in his catalog of comet-like objects.

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It is easily found in the sky, being close to the star ζ Sagittarii. It is, however, not resolvable into individual stars even with larger amateur telescopes.

Previously thought to belong to the Milky Way at a distance from Earth of about 50,000 light-years, it was discovered in 1994 that M54 most likely belongs to the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy (SagDEG), making it the first globular cluster formerly thought to be part of our galaxy reassigned to extragalactic status, even if not recognized as such for more than two centuries. As it is located in SagDEG’s center, some authors think it actually may be its core; however others have proposed that it is a real globular cluster that fell to the center of this galaxy due to decay of its orbit caused by dynamical friction.


Observation Log Information
Log Index:1121
Equipment:110mmDoublet EP APO – PF Canon 60D

Keywords: M54, Messier, Sagittarius, globular cluster

January 18, 2024
Roger Nelson

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