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Astronomical Observatory: Cool Images

Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2004

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M52, Christy Tillman

Helix Nebula

M52 is a fine open star cluster located in a rich Milky Way field. An open star cluster usually consists of a group of a few hundred or so young stars. The distance of this cluster is not very well known. This uncertainty is mainly due to the high interstellar absorption its light has suffered on its way to us, which is complicated to estimate reasonably. Adopting the value of 5,000 light years, the cluster's apparent diameter of 13.0 arc minutes corresponds to a linear extension of 19 light years.

M52 is below the star d Cassiopeiae and often described as a fan or "V" shape. This cluster was discovered by M. Messier, "le Préposé du Ciel," in 1774, at Paris, and was then described as "a mass of very small stars blended with nebulous matter, and requiring a good telescope to distinguish them; it looks like a solid ball of stars, compressed into a blaze of light, with stragglers."


Right Ascension (J2000) 23 : 24.2 (h:m)
Declination (J2000) +61 : 35 (deg:m)
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 60 seconds in C, 300 seconds in BVR

November 25, 2004, 1:30 UTC





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