The Velvet Cluster – Sep 26th 2010

This is one of the last few pictures taken this morning and shows the open cluster M46, also known as the Velvet Cluster. There are about 500 stars loosly spread in this cluster with it’s brightest stars being 100 times brighter than our own sun.

You can also see in the picture the planetary nebula NGC 2438 . This is a Planetary nebula whixh looks like it is part of the Velvet cluster but in fact it is in the foreground of the cluster. The white dot in the middle of the nebula is not NGC 2438’s central star but is actually a star belonging to M46 behind the nebula. The nebula’s central star is not visible in this picture and is estimated to be around a billion years old which is in it’s later stage of life and releasing a cloud of gas as seen in the picture.

Picture taken 26th September 2010 (Click to Enlarge)

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~ by sydneystargazers on September 26, 2010.

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