Welcome back to another edition of Messier Monday! Today, we continue in our tribute to Tammy Plotner with a look at the M11 Wild Duck Cluster!
In the 18th century, French astronomer Charles Messier noted the presence of several “nebulous objects” in the night sky while searching for comets. Hoping to ensure that other astronomers did not make the same mistake, he began compiling a list of 1oo of them. This list came to be known as the Messier Catalog, and would have far-reaching consequences.
One of these objects is M11, otherwise known as The Wild Duck Cluster, an open cluster located in the constellation Scutum, near the northern edge of a rich Milky Way star cloud (the Scutum Cloud). This open star cluster is one of the richest and most compact of all those known, composed of a few thousand hot, young stars that are only a few million years old.