Messier 9

Coordinates: Sky map 17h 19m 11.78s, −18° 30′ 58.5″
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Messier 9
Messier 9 by HST
Observation data (J2000 epoch)
Right ascension17h 19m 11.78s[2]
Declination–18° 30′ 58.5″[2]
Distance25.8 kly (7.9 kpc)[3]
Apparent magnitude (V)7.7[4]
Apparent dimensions (V)9.3′[5]
Physical characteristics
Mass4.22×105[3] M
Radius45 ly[3]
Metallicity = –1.77[3] dex
Estimated age12.0 Gyr[6]
Other designationsHD 156587, NGC 6333[7]
See also: Globular cluster, List of globular clusters

Messier 9 or M9 (also designated NGC 6333) is a globular cluster in the constellation of Ophiuchus. It is positioned in the southern part of the constellation to the southwest of Eta Ophiuchi, and lies atop a dark cloud of dust designated Barnard 64.[5][8] The cluster was discovered by French astronomer Charles Messier on June 3, 1764, who described it as a "nebula without stars".[9] In 1783, English astronomer William Herschel was able to use his reflector to resolve individual stars within the cluster. He estimated the cluster to be 7–8 in diameter with stars densely packed near the center.[10]

M9 has an apparent magnitude of 7.9, an angular size of 9.3′, and can be viewed with a small telescope.[5] It is one of the nearer globular clusters to the center of the galaxy as is around 5,500 light-years from the Galactic Center. Its distance from Earth is 25,800 light-years.

The total luminosity of this cluster is around 120,000 times that of the Sun, the absolute magnitude being -8.04. The brightest individual stars in M9 are of apparent magnitude 13.5, making them visible in moderately sized telescopes. There have been 24 variable stars found in M9: 21 RR Lyrae variables, plus a long-period variable, Type II Cepheid, and an eclipsing binary. No blue stragglers or SX Phoenicis variables have been discovered. Based upon the periods of the RR Lyr variables, this cluster is classified as an Oosterhoff type II globular, which precludes an extra-galactic origin.[11]

At about 80' (1+13 degrees) to the northeast of M9 is the dimmer globular cluster NGC 6356, while about the same to the southeast is the globular NGC 6342.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shapley, Harlow; Sawyer, Helen B. (August 1927), "A Classification of Globular Clusters", Harvard College Observatory Bulletin, 849 (849): 11–14, Bibcode:1927BHarO.849...11S.
  2. ^ a b Formiggini, Liliana; et al. (May 2002), "Hidden subluminous stars among the FAUST UV sources towards Ophiuchus", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 332 (2): 441–455, arXiv:astro-ph/0210325, Bibcode:2002MNRAS.332..441F, doi:10.1046/j.1365-8711.2002.05327.x, S2CID 119462293.
  3. ^ a b c d Boyles, J.; et al. (November 2011), "Young Radio Pulsars in Galactic Globular Clusters", The Astrophysical Journal, 742 (1): 51, arXiv:1108.4402, Bibcode:2011ApJ...742...51B, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/742/1/51, S2CID 118649860.
  4. ^ "Messier 9". SEDS Messier Catalog. Archived from the original on 11 July 2022. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Gilmour, Jess K. (2012), The Practical Astronomer's Deep-sky Companion, The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series, Springer Science & Business Media, p. 75, ISBN 978-1447100713.
  6. ^ Koleva, M.; et al. (April 2008), "Spectroscopic ages and metallicities of stellar populations: validation of full spectrum fitting", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 385 (4): 1998–2010, arXiv:0801.0871, Bibcode:2008MNRAS.385.1998K, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.12908.x, S2CID 17571531
  7. ^ "M 9". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved 2006-11-15.
  8. ^ O'Meara, Stephen James (2014), Deep-Sky Companions: The Messier Objects, Cambridge University Press, p. 71, ISBN 978-1107018372.
  9. ^ Machholz, Don (2002), The Observing Guide to the Messier Marathon: A Handbook and Atlas, Cambridge University Press, p. 23, ISBN 978-0521803861.
  10. ^ Klein, Hermann Joseph (1901), Star Atlas, Society for promoting Christian knowledge, p. 55.
  11. ^ Arellano Ferro, A.; et al. (September 2013), "A detailed census of variable stars in the globular cluster NGC 6333 (M9) from CCD differential photometry", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 434 (2): 1220–1238, arXiv:1306.3206, Bibcode:2013MNRAS.434.1220A, doi:10.1093/mnras/stt1080.

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