If you’ve had an opportunity over the last few days to check in on our IYA “Live” Telescope, we’ve been keeping an eye on the Messier Catalog Objects for you… specifically some bright open clusters named M46, M47 and M48! If you didn’t get a chance to catch them while they were on the air, then feel free to have a look at our video capture…
Messier 46 (also known as M 46 or NGC 2437) is an open cluster in the constellation of Puppis. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1771. Dreyer described it as “very bright, very rich, very large.” M46 is about 5,500 light-years away with an estimated age on the order of several 100 million years.
The planetary nebula NGC 2438 appears to lie within the cluster near its northern edge (the faint smudge at the top center of the image), but it is most likely unrelated since it does not share the cluster’s radial velocity. The case is yet another example of a superposed pair, joining the famed case of NGC 2818. M46 is about a degree east of M47 in the sky, so the two fit well in a binocular or wide-angle telescope field.
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Ready for the next? Let’s go….
Open Cluster M47 (also known as Messier Object 47 or NGC 2422) is an open cluster in the constellation Puppis. It was discovered by Giovanni Batista Hodierna before 1654 and independently discovered by Charles Messier on February 19, 1771.
M47 is at a distance of about 1,600 light-years from Earth with an estimated age of about 78 million years. There are about 50 stars in this cluster, the brightest one being of magnitude +5.7.
And before we go…
Messier 48 (also known as M 48 or NGC 2548) is an open cluster in the Hydra constellation. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1771.
M48 is visible to the naked eye under good atmospheric conditions. Its age is estimated to amount 300 million years.
As always, check when you have an opportunity to catch the IYA “Live” telescope in action!
Factual information courtesy of Wikipedia.