Friday, August 6, 2010

A Cluster of Open Clusters

This is post lists the rest of the open cluster images that I have made, but have not yet posted.

Here is Messier 7, also known as Ptolemy's Cluster. It is visible to the naked eye as a fuzzy patch near the end of the tail of Scorpius.  From our perspective, the cluster is superimposed on the Sagittarius Arm of the Milky Way.

Messier 7 (Ptolemy's Cluster) in Scorpius
Messier 34 is a relatively small open cluster in Perseus:

Messier 34 in Perseus
Messier 37 is located in Auriga, fairly close (from our point of view) to Messier 36 and Messier 38:

Messier 37 in Auriga
Messier 44 is visible to the naked eye as a fuzzy patch in the constellation Cancer. It is sometimes called the Beehive Cluster, but the ancient Romans and Greeks knew it as Praesepe (Latin for "manger").

Messier 44 in Cancer
Messier 45, more commonly known as the Pleiades, is probably the best known open cluster. It is a relatively young cluster of about 500 stars in the constellation Taurus. Several of the stars illuminate a molecular cloud that is currently passing through the vicinity of the Pleiades. This cloud is not related to the cloud from which the stars formed.

Messier 45 (the Pleiades) in Taurus
I posted an image of Messier 46 in the previous post, but this one is a close-up. Planetary nebula NGC 2438 is clearly visible here:

Messier 46 in Puppis
Messier 52 is located in Cassiopeia. Other interesting features in this area include the Bubble Nebula and an open cluster catalog as Czernik 42. The "bubble" in the Bubble Nebula was formed by a star whose stellar winds are pushing out on the material in the surrounding nebula. Czernik 42 is a fairly inconspicuous cluster, located just below and to the left of the reddish stars that are below Messier 52 in this image:

Messier 52 in Cassiopeia
And, finally, here is Messier 93. It doesn't get a lot of press. I guess that's because it lacks the glitz of more interesting deep sky objects. Still, I think it has some things going for it that make it a worthy target. For one, it is located along the plane of the Milky Way galaxy from our perspective, so there are a lot of stars to see besides those in the cluster. Also, it has an interesting shape--most describe it as an arrowhead, but I keep thinking "mouse pointer." The SEDS Messier Pages describe it as a "nice open star cluster." I guess that means that it has a pleasant disposition.

This image was taken with my ST80 on the EQ-1 mount:

Messier 93 in Puppis

No comments:

Post a Comment