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Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr110 Photography Projects, Fall 2007

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M29 Open Cluster (NGC 6913), Nick Vander Lugt

M29

Open star clusters are groups of several dozen to several hundred stars that were all formed around the same time probably as result of the collapse of cosmic gases and dust clouds. They are loosely held together by mutual gravitational attraction and are found only in the disks of spiral and irregular galaxies. Our galaxy contains thousands of open clusters, but only a small amount can actually be seen with the unaided eye. Most open clusters consist of relatively young stars and don't have a long life span as many of the stars escape from the cluster due to the gravitational pull of other nearby objects. This particular cluster was first discovered in 1769 by Charles Messier and one of his earlier discoveries that he cataloged in his "Messier Catalog".

M29 is about 4000 light years away and can be seen with the help of binoculars in the constellation Cygnus near the star Gamma Cygni. The estimated linear size is about 11 light years in diameter. From looking at the picture the vast range of temperatures can be seen by looking at the different colors of the stars. The red stars are cooler and the blues stars are the hotter. In this particular star cluster it can be seen that the large central stars are mostly blue. This is an indication that the cluster is relatively young because the large blue stars have not yet burnt out. It is estimated that M29 is only about 10,000,000 years old.

References:
Forknoi, Morrison, & Wolff. Voyages Though the Universe. 3rd ed. Brooks/Cole, 2004.

Frommert, Hartmut and Kronberg, Christine. "Messier 29." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. <http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m029.html>

Right Ascension (J2000) 20:23:59
Declination (J2000) +38:32:00
Filters used blue(B), green(V), and red(R)
Exposure time per filter 300 seconds for each
Date observed

October 23, 2007