IYA Live Telescope Today – The Jewel Box Cluster

by Tammy Plotner on March 25, 2009

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gtvlogo5If you didn’t get a chance to watch the IYA telescope “live” on Galactic TV today, don’t worry. We took a video capture for you. Step inside to enjoy today’s view of NGC 4755…

The Jewel Box (also known as NGC 4755 or Kappa Crucis Cluster) is an open cluster in the constellation of Crux. As Kappa Crucis, it has a Bayer designation despite the fact that it is a cluster rather than an individual star.

It is one of the finest open clusters discovered by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille when he was in South Africa during 17511752. This cluster is one of the youngest known, with an estimated age of only 7.1 million years. It has an apparent magnitude of 4.2, and is located 6,440 light years from Earth and contains around 100 stars. This famous group of young bright stars was named the Jewel Box from its description by Sir John Herschel as “a casket of variously coloured precious stones,” which refers to its appearance in the telescope. The bright orange star Kappa Crucis contrasts strongly against its predominantly blue, hot companions. Kappa Crucis is a very large (hence very luminous) young star in its red supergiant stage, which paradoxically indicates that its life is drawing to a close. The cluster looks like a star to the unaided eye and appears close to the easternmost star of the Southern Cross, (Beta Crucis), so is only visible from southern latitudes. (Information courtesy of Wikipedia)

Right now the IYA remote live telescope is a work in progress. Be aware that video recordings will be jerky until we get some of the system bugs worked out. As always, you can visit the remote telescope by clicking on the IYA “LIVE Remote Cam” Logo to your right. We’ll be broadcasting whenever skies are clear and dark in Central Victoria! Enjoy….

About 

Tammy is a professional astronomy author, President Emeritus of Warren Rupp Observatory and retired Astronomical League Executive Secretary. She’s received a vast number of astronomy achievement and observing awards, including the Great Lakes Astronomy Achievement Award, RG Wright Service Award and the first woman astronomer to achieve Comet Hunter's Gold Status.

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