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Physics & Astronomy Department

Astr111 Photography Projects, Fall 2009

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Messier 52 , David Dekker

M52

Located approximately five thousand light years away, the open cluster named the Messier 52 is part of the Cassiopeia cluster in the Milky Way. This particular cluster was discovered in 1774 by a man named Charles Messier. The visual brightness of this cluster is 7.3 mag. An open cluster is a group of stars that are physically held together by a common gravitational attraction. The stars of open clusters are known to be of about the same age, and about the same chemical composition, but have different masses.

The image above is the product of four separate pictures that were each taken with a different filter. The four filters used were clear, blue, green, and red. These four images were then meshed together in order to have the full color outcome shown above. In this photo, many of the stars have different colors. There are dimly lit red stars, brightly lit bluish/white stars, and then there is one brightly lit red star that is also very large. The coloration differences have to do mostly with the temperature of the stars individually. The very bright bluish tinted stars are the hotter stars while the dimmer red stars are cooler in temperature. Then there is that one star near the middle of the photo that is very bright and big. Unlike the other bright stars that are big this particular star is red. This star was actually once probably a bright bluish star like the others that has now burnt through most of its energy (the stars that burn hotter use up their fuel faster.) Because this star has burnt its fuel out, its inner core is collapsing. The collapsing of its inner core is in turn actually giving off enough energy to expand the star. That is why the star is large, but still has the reddish tint.

References:
Frommert, Hartmut, and Christine Kronberg. "Messier Object 52." SEDS Messier Database. 30 Aug. 2007. Web. 20 Nov. 2009. <http://messier.obspm.fr/m/m052.html>.

Frommert, Hartmut, and Christine Kronberg. "Open Star Clusters." Seds.org. 27 Aug. 2007. Web. 03 Dec. 2009. <http://www.seds.org/messier/open.html>.

Right Ascension (J2000) 23:24:47.81
Declination (J2000) +61:35:30.9
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 10x10 seconds in C, 30 seconds in BVR
Date observed

November 7, 2009 (CBVR)