NGC 7006 is a distant globular cluster, 135000 light-years away, in the constellation of Delphinus. The globular resides in the galactic halo region of the Milky Way, an area of space that contains relatively few clusters. Its actual size is slightly smaller than M13 - the best globular in the northern section of sky - but since it's 5 times further out, it shines at only mag. +10.6 and spans less than 3 arc minutes of apparent sky. The cluster is one of the most distant Milky Way globulars observable with backyard telescopes.

NGC 7006 was discovered by William Herschel on August 21, 1784 and is best seen during the months of July, August and September. It has a spatial diameter of 110 light-years and is estimated to contain 250,000 stars. It's listed as number 42 in the Caldwell catalogue.

NGC 7006 (credit:- NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA))

Delphinus is one of the smallest constellations in the sky. It's not particularly bright but its main quadrangle shape is easy to recognise. To locate NGC 7006, imagine a line connecting stars Sualocin (α Del - mag. +3.8) and gamma Del (γ Del - mag. +3.9) and then extend it eastwards for another 3.5 degrees.

Finder Chart for NGC 7006 (credit:- freestarcharts)

Finder Chart for NGC 7006 - pdf format (credit:- freestarcharts)

The cluster is a challenging object for small telescopes owners. Through an 80mm (3.1-inch) refractor it appears faint and almost star light with a weak nucleus and an even weaker halo. A 250mm (10-inch) scope reveals a bright compact core surrounded by hazy fuzz that's clearly non-stellar in nature. Very large scopes at high magnifications will resolve a few of the brightest individual member stars.

In literature, NGC 7006 is mentioned by inhabitants of a distance planet in the science fiction novel "Beyond the Farthest Star" by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

NGC 7006 Data Table

Object TypeGlobular Cluster
Distance (light-years)135,000
Apparent Mag.10.6
RA (J2000)21h 01m 29s
DEC (J2000)16d 11m 16s
Apparent Size (arc mins)2.8
Radius (light-years)55
Number of Stars250,000

Sky Highlights - March 2017

Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak now visible with binoculars as it heads towards perihelion

Mercury heading towards greatest elongation east

Minor Planet
Vesta now visible with binoculars and small telescopes.

The Planets
This Month's Guide

Algol Minima
Algol eclipse dates and times for March 2017

Northern Hemisphere
West:- Venus (mag. -4.8 to -4.1 - first half of month), Mars (mag. +1.3 to +1.5), Uranus (mag. +5.9), Mercury (mag. -1.5 to -0.4 - second half of month)
Southeast:- Jupiter (mag. -2.3 to -2.5)
Southwest:- Jupiter
Southeast:- Saturn (mag. +0.5)

Southern Hemisphere
West:- Venus (first half of month), Mars, Uranus
North:- Jupiter
East:- Saturn
West:- Jupiter
Northeast:- Saturn
East:- Neptune (mag. +8.0 - second half of month)

Deep Sky
Naked eye / binoculars:-
Melotte 111 - Mel 111 - The Coma Star Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 44 - M44 - The Praesepe (Open Cluster)

Messier 67 - M67 - Open Cluster
Messier 51 - M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy)
Messier 97 - M97 - The Owl Nebula (Planetary Nebula)
Messier 101 - M101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy)
Messier 65 – M65 – Spiral Galaxy
Messier 66 - M66 - Intermediate Spiral Galaxy
Messier 95 - M95 - Barred Spiral Galaxy
Messier 96 - M96 - Intermediate Spiral Galaxy
NGC 4244 - Spiral Galaxy
NGC 4565 - Needle Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy

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