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Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2004

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M 37, Shane Cameron

M 37

Open clusters are physically related groups of stars held together by mutual gravitational attraction. The stars take up a small area; usually they are closer together to each other than to us. They are believed to originate from large cosmic gas and dust clouds in the Milky Way, and to continue to orbit the galaxy. In many clouds visible as bright diffuse nebulae, star formation still takes place at this moment, so that we can observe the formation of new young star clusters. The cluster tends to form quickly, and thus the stars within the cluster are around the same age. The stars in the cluster are generally made of the same chemical composition.

The open star cluster I looked at was M37. M37 seemed to be the brightest of all the other clusters around it. M37 also seems to have the largest amounts of stars within the cluster.