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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2008

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Star Cluster (M67), Seth Palmer

M67

M67 is an open star cluster residing within the outer Milky Way Galaxy. An open star cluster is a group of stars held together by the mutual gravitational force of its fellow cluster members. M67 is quite old for an open star cluster, about 4-5 billion years old, which is almost as old as our own solar system. The reason M67’s age is remarkable because open star clusters usually do not live long due to clouds of dust and gas molecules in the Milky Way whose gravitational force often splits an open cluster apart. M67’s position in the outer Milky Way, 1500 light years above the Milky Way’s central plain where the clouds of dust and gas are ensures M67’s longevity.  

The image is of course of the M67 cluster, and it depicts the cluster’s mass of stars. M67 has several red giants, 11 K-type giants, along with several strange stars called the “Blue Stragglers,” of which some have a luminosity 50 times that of our own sun. M67 has around 500 stars in total and most of these are made up of the 200 white dwarf stars residing within the cluster. M67 has an angular size of 30 archminutes and has a linear size of 23 light years.

References:star cluster.

Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 15 Apr. 2009 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/563485/star-cluster>

Frommert, Hartmut and Kronberg, Christine. "M67" Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. <http://www.maa.clell.de/Messier/E/m067.html>

Croswell, Ken. "M67: The Ultimate Survivor" KenCroswell.com. <http://kencroswell.com/M67.html>

Right Ascension (J2000) 08:51:34.80
Declination (J2000) +11:50:54.0
Filters used clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 6x10 seconds in C
Date observed

April 4, 2009 (C)