Messier 67, King Cobra Cluster

Messier 67. Image Credit: João Vieira
Messier 67: At a nearly visible magnitude of 6.1, this open cluster lies around 2,770 light years from Earth. Messier 67 has a surprising number of Sun like stars, but has some white dwarfs and giants and a few other things mixed in there. The odd thing about this cluster is its age. Most open clusters are only a few hundred million years old and scatter over time. However, Messier 67 may be as old as 4 billion years and isn’t predicted to disperse for another 5 billion years. A more common attribute of this open cluster is how its stars are separated. While the lighter, smaller stars are on the outside of the cluster, the larger, heavier stars have congregated in the middle. To find Messier 67, first look to the constellation Cancer the crab East of Gemini. Then, going from the center of Cancer’s triangular shape, scan Southeast to the star Acubens. Scan around the general region with your finder scope or binoculars and you’ll find a fuzzy patch. This is Messier 67. With binoculars you may be able to pick out a few stars but with a small telescope you will see many more stars. With a large telescope you may see upwards of a hundred stars. Messier 67 is also sometimes referred to as the King Cobra Cluster and shares a constellation with the Beehive Cluster. Compare the two clusters and see which one you like most.

No comments:

Post a Comment