visionintime.typepad.com > STAR CLUSTERS

A star cluster is a group of stars, in one location in space, associated by the same origin. Some clusters contain millions of stars in compact, tightly grouped central packs, called GLOBULAR CLUSTERS. Other clusters of stars are in wide, vastly seperated areas of space, which are called OPEN CLUSTERS. In these images we will see some examples of both types of clusters. You can click on any image to see it presented in larger format and the rest of the images will follow as a slide show. When you are done you can return to the home page by clicking on the words VISIONINTIME at the upper left part of the screen.

M93

M93

A bright, open cluster in Puppis Located about 3,400 light years away with about 63 to as many as 183 stars in the association.

This photo was taken with the Meade LX200 10" scope and a Meade 416 CCD in black and white. This is four, thirty second exposures stacked to make one image.


M71

M71

Some have classified this as a globular cluster (but it does not have a dense central group of stars) others have classified it as an open cluster (but the distance in light years and lack of stars in Main Sequence is a problem). The distance to the cluster is more than 18,000 light years and it is about 30 light years wide.

This image was taken with the LX200 scope, Meade 416 CCD in the black and white mode. This is four, twenty second exposures stacked to make one.


M5

M5

A Globular Cluster in Serpens. First located in 1705 by a German Astronomer named Kirch. We think this cluster is about 26,500 light years away with more than 500 stars grouped in the central core of the globular cluster.

The light from the central core is so bright that it makes it difficult to resolve the stars in the cluster into individual stars. This image was taken with the LX200 10"telescope at prime focus F-10 with a Meade 416 CCD and a 616 color wheel. What you see here are: 5 red, 5 green, 5 blue and 5 clear filtered images each exposed at twenty seconds. Then all images are stacked to get a color image as seen Note the red, blue and orange stars in the image.


M46

M46

A rich Open star cluster of about 500 stars in Puppis. Located about 5,400 light years away with a diameter of about 30 light years wide. There is a small planetary nebula (NGC 2438) located in the center of this image also. The nebula is that "fuzzy" star in the center of the photo that appears to have dust around it.

This image is ten, forty second images, stacked to make one. The LX200 telescope was used with a focal reducer. A Meade 416 CCD in black and white mode was used to capture the image.


M45

M45

Perhaps the most impressive open cluster of stars seen in the sky naked eye and through a telescope. M45 was used by the American Indians to test the eyesight of young scouts as part of their training. Young boys were asked to count the stars naked eye. Most people see between 4 and 6 stars in a fairly dark sky site. Those with very good vision (like Indain Scouts) might see seven or eight. With my eyesight, corrected to 20/40 with my glasses I only see a smudge of stars. I am not able to see any single stars. As an Indian with my eyesight I guess I would be a cook not a scout.

In 1921 astronomers associated at least 246 stars in the open cluster. M45 is about 410 light years aways. With modern photography we can resolve over 2000 stars in the image but not all of these stars are associated with the cluster.

This image was taken with a TeleVue 76mm scope at prime focus, mounted to the LX200 Meade scope and a Fuji S2 camera set to 13 mpixels. This is a single image of only 10 seconds. The blue haze seen around the stars is dust left over from the formation of the stars at their birth or gas emitted from the stars.

The image presents in blue color. Most of these stars are new stars that are hot. White and blue colors are associated with young hot stars.


M44

M44

The open cluster in this image is close to us. Some call it the Beehive Open Cluster. Galileo resolved this cluster with his first telescope and wrote about it having 30 stars. Today, we are able to resolve more than 600 individual stars. This image is a close up of the central region of the Beehive Cluster. I was focusing on the central star formation of the object and not trying to capture a wide field view. The image was taken with a LX200 telescope, 30mm lens and a Meade 416 CCD. There are twelve, twenty second images, stacked together to make this one photo.


M37

M37

Messier discovered and wrote about this object in September 2 1764. We think there are about 2,300 stars in the open cluster in Auriga but there may be more yet to be associated with the cluster. This image was taken at prime focus F-10 with the 10" LX200 Meade scope and a Meade 416 CCD. There are fifteen, 20 second images, stacked to produce this one image in black and white.


M35

M35

This photograph was taken with a LX200 10" classic scope at prime focus. A Meade 416 CCD was used to capture the image. In the lower right corner you can see NGC 2158 in the field of view. The clusters are located in the Gemini part of the sky. NGC 2158 is one of the most remote star clusters. It is estimated to be 16,000 light years away. M35 is much closer at an estimated 2,200 light years away.


M13

M13

Some astronomers call this cluster the "Great Globular Star Cluster of Hercules." Halley wrote about it as early as 1714. Messier put it in his catalog as M13. This image was taken with a LX200 classic and a 416 Meade CCD in black and white. The star cluster is about 21,000 light years away.


M11

M11

About 5,500 light years distant M11 is in the star cloud called Scutum. This is a short exposure taken with a LX200 10" scope. A Meade 416 CCD was used in the black and white mode. Exposure time was 20 seconds.


Hyades

Hyades

The Hyades is thought to be the nearest galactic star cluster. The nearest star in the cluster is about 88 light years away and the most distant star in the cluster is about 150 light years away. There are actually about 350 stars in this cluster but the brightest stars of the cluster are shown. This image was taken with a 35mm camera attached to a 10" LX200 scope at prime focus F-10. This is a single 20 second image.


M92

M92

The constellation Hercules is the home for M92. It is more than 35,000 light years away. This image was taken with a TeleVue Pronto scope attached to a LX200 classic scope. The camera was a Meade 416 CCD in black and white mode. There are actually ten, twenty second exposures, stacked together to make this one image.