Friday, July 20, 2007

Wild Duck Star Cluster




A couple of nights ago I was outside and took a picture of my favorite open star cluster, the "Wild Duck Cluster". It is located in the constellation Scutum. Scutum is located right above the constellation Sagittarius. Both of these constellation are low in the south sky this time of year, (in the northern hemispere). I posted 2 pictures of the cluster, one with the outline around the duck, the duck's beak is in the middle and the wing tips are on each side of the beak, and one without the lines, since thats how you see it in the night sky. The cluster when viewed live is magnificent, It is a cluster I view every time out. Scutum is located in our Milky Way Galaxy, and when viewed through a good telescope there are thousands of pinpoint stars along with the brighter stars in the duck. The Duck was discovered by Gottfried Kirch of the Berlin Observatory in 1681. Back then he described it as a "small, obscure spot with a star shining through and rendering it more luminous". If you live in the city you need a good scope to spot it, out of town it is just visible to the naked eye if you know where to look. The cluster is about 250 million years old, consists of serveral dozen stars and takes about 6,200 years for its light to reach us! "Sky View Cafe" is a good tool to find constellations and various deep sky objects, just input your location and and it will give you a star chart for that date and time.

4 comments:

Jericho Saved said...

This is so interesting. When I was a kid my parents bought me a telescope. Not a very good one but I was happy just to see the moon. Now that I've found your blog I have also found my interest rekindled. I look forward to learning more. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

This is good Ibzen, to mee. Thanks

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