M11 Open Cluster

Unlike the many globular clusters that I normally image, open clusters are groups of stars that are only loosely bound by gravity. The lifespans of open clusters are relatively short when compared to those of globular clusters. This is because the gravitational interactions between members of open clusters are comparatively weak, so stars do not remain bound for long before they are drawn away by stronger gravitational forces.

This open cluster is known as M11. Also known as the Wild Duck Cluster for the roughly V-shaped arrangement of its brightest stars, M11 was discovered by the German astronomer Gottfried Kirch in 1681. It is located 6,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Scutum and has an apparent magnitude of 6.3. M11 is one of the most densely populated open clusters known. Containing over 2,900 stars, it appears as a triangular patch of light through a pair of binoculars in dark skies.

I took this image over 7 hours (25 images of 10 minutes and 11 images each for RGB colors for 5 minutes). This image is cropped by about 50%.

Leave a Reply