A Cluster of Clusters

Most of the winter nebula are now out of reach from my house. I would have moved on to some galaxies but my longer focal length scope is on the shelf waiting for an adapter. I wasn’t too excited about going after open clusters but I am happy I did as I found some of them to be very interesting especially the ones located in the arms of the Milky Way.  Some had nebulosity in the area and others had several galaxies in the background. I decided on three minute exposures using only RGB filters. Below is what I captured.

Messier 35, M35, NGC 2158

Messier 35

Messier 35 is an open cluster in the constellation Gemini. At 2,800 light years the apparent size is about 24 light years in diameter and at 5.3 magnitude it is visible under ideal conditions. The age is thought to be about 100-110 million years. It contains 513 stars of varying spectral types. To the lower right is star cluster NGC 2158 which is much dimmer at magnitude 8.6 but contains many more stars than M35. At a distance of 16,000 light years and an age of one billion years it is not related in any way to M35.

Messier 36, M36

Messier 36

Messier 36 is an open cluster in the constellation Auriga. At 4,100 light years the apparent size is about 12 arc minutes or 14 light years. It is a magnitude 6.3 cluster with about 60 known stars that are very young at 25 million years. Open cluster NGC 1931 and its surrounding nebula SH2-237 can be seen to the right of the cluster.

Messier 37, M37

Messier 37

Messier 37 is an open cluster in the constellation Auriga. At 4,400 light years the apparent size is about 24 arc minutes or 20-25 light years. There are some differences in distance among different sources. It is a magnitude 6.2 cluster with about 500 stars of varying spectral types. There are a few red giants in this cluster which would put the age at about 300 million years.

Messier 38, M38

Messier 38

Messier 38 is an open cluster in the constellation Auriga. At 4,200 light years the apparent size is about 20 arc minutes or 25 light years. It is a magnitude 7.4 cluster at an age of about 220 million years. LBN 794 is the nebula that appears to the right of the M38 cluster. Herschel H39-7 is the open cluster below M38.

Messier 44, M44

Messier 44

Messier 44 is an open cluster in the constellation Cancer. At 577 light years the apparent size is about 95 arc minutes. It is a magnitude 3.7 cluster with about 350 stars at an age of 730 million years.

Messier 46, M46

Messier 46

Messier 46 is an open cluster in the constellation Puppis. At 5,400 light years the apparent size is about 27 arc minutes or 30 light years. It is a magnitude 6.0 cluster containing about 500 stars at an age of 300 million years. Planetary Nebula NGC 2438 is seen just above the cluster and its central star is magnitude 17.7. This is not part of M46 and it is the foreground at a distance of 2,900 light years. The smaller planetary nebula Minkowski 1-18 is seen above that.

Messier 48, M48

Messier 48

Messier 48 is an open cluster in the constellation Hydra. At 1,500 light years the apparent size is about 54 arc minutes or 23 light years. It is a magnitude 5.5 cluster and it contains about 80 stars at an age of 300 million years.

Messier 50, M50

Messier 50

Messier 50 is an open cluster in the constellation Monoceros. At 3,200 light years the apparent size is about 16 arc minutes or 20 light years. It is a magnitude 5.9 cluster and it contains about 200 stars at an age of 78 million years. LBN 1023 is the small nebula in the lower right corner and is 3×3 arc minutes in size. LBN 1021 is in the top right corner and is very small at 2×2 arc minutes.

Messier 67, M67

Messier 67

Messier 67 is an open cluster in the constellation Cancer. At 2,700 light years the apparent size is about 12 light years. It is a magnitude 6.1 cluster and contains about 500 stars at a very old age of about 4 billion years. It is the oldest open cluster in Messier catalog.

[SEDS] [SkySafari Pro]

 

4 Responses to A Cluster of Clusters

Leave a Reply to JR Johnson-Roehr Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *