NGC 6401

Globular Cluster NGC 6401, class VIII, in Ophiuchus

Distance from Sun:
34.6 kly
Distance from Galactic Center:
8.8 kly
Apparent Diameter:
12.1 arc min
9.45 mag vis
Radial Velocity:
-65.0 +/- 8.6 km/s
Abs. Mag:
-7.90 Mag vis
Discovered by William Herschel on May 21, 1784.

This globular cluster was first taken for a bright nebula by William Herschel, and cataloged accordingly as H I.44. John Herschel also described it as a nebula, as he apparently couldn't resolve it into stars either.

In 1977, Peterson (1977) announced the finding of another planetary nebula in the neighborhood, and perhaps associated with globular cluster NGC 6401 in Ophiuchus; this planetary nebula candidate was cataloged as Peterson 1 (Pt 1; PK 004+03.1). However, Acker and Stenholm (1990) found that this object exhibits a red stellar continuum - thus is not a planetary nebula but a symbiotic star.


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Hartmut Frommert [contact]