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Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2004

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M-52, Tim Janke


M-52 is one of the original discoveries of Charles Messier. It was cataloged on September 7, 1774. M-52 is an open cluster located in a Milky Way field. Open clusters are groups of up to several thousand stars. They are found in the disks of galaxies and generally contain young stars. The density near the center of M-52 is approximately 3 stars per cubic parsec. The brightest main sequence star in this cluster is of magnitude 11.0 and has spectral type B7. M-52 is believed to only be about 35 million years old. The distance of M-52 from Earth is not exactly known. Estimates of the distance is vary from 3000 to 7000 light years, so it's likely about 5000 light years away. In the sky M-52 is 13.0 arc minutes across. This means the cluster is about 19 light years wide.

The picture shows how dense and bright M-52 is. The brightest star in the cluster is of spectral type F9 and magnitude 7.77. This yellow giant is obvious in the lower right side of the picture. Blue and white stars are hotter and younger than the reddish and yellowish stars in the cluster.


Right Ascension (J2000) 23:24:12
Declination (J2000) +61:35:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 60 seconds in C, 300 seconds in BVR

November 18, 2004, 1:30 UT (C)
November 25, 2004, 2:47 UT (BVR)