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M53

NGC 5024

A distant globular cluster in Coma Berenices, M53 consists of a roughly spherical group of old stars more than two hundred light years across. Ths cluster lies nearly 60,000 light years from the Solar System, some considerable way outside the main disc of the Milky Way Galaxy. The stars making up the cluster are mainly old reddish first-generation stars, and a significant number of these are of the pulsating RR Lyrae variable type common in globular clusters.

Some six thousand light years from M53 lies another globular cluster, the relatively sparse and diffuse NGC 5053. M53 and NGC 5053 are near neighbours in galactic terms, and the two interact with one another gravitationally, so that the gulf of space between the two clusters is crossed by a tenuous bridge of streaming matter.

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