NGC 744 is an open cluster. Open clusters are thought to have come from large clouds of gas and dust in the Milky Way and most stars in each open cluster are near the same age and are made up of similar materials. A lot of open clusters have a short life span and sometimes their stars escape and drift away from the cluster. Very few have been recorded as over a billion years old. According to seds.org, all field stars in our galaxy (as well as external galaxies) originated in clusters, some in open clusters much like NGC 744.
This cluster resides in the constellation Perseus and contains a very bright star that appears blue, which means that it is both very luminous and very high in temperature. This is also true for the smaller blue stars, but not for the small red stars which are low in luminosity and temperature. The distance from NGC 744 to Earth is unknown, but if it were 1,000 light years away, its linear size would be about 5 light years.
Frommert, Hartmut, and Christine Kronberg. "Open Star Clusters." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. 27 Aug. 2007. Web. 9 Dec. 2010. <http://seds.org/messier/open.html#Messier>
"Basic data : NGC 744." SIMBAD Astronomical Database. Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg, 13 July 2006. Web. 9 Dec. 2010. <http://simbad.u-strasbg.fr/simbad/sim-basic?Ident=ngc+744>
|Right Ascension (J2000)||1:59|
|Filters used||blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)|
|Exposure time per filter||300 seconds in B, 60 seconds in CVR|
October 26, 2010