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Antares and NGC 6144
Kyle Jasperse

Antares

This is a picture of the star, Antares, and its surroundings. Antares is a red supergiant star in our own Milky Way Galaxy, set in the center of the constellation Scorpio. It is the 15th brightest star in our galaxy.. The name, "Antares," actually comes from the Greek, "Ant-Ares," which means "like Ares." Ares was the name for Mars, which has a similar color in the nightsky. Looking away from the star itself, you will see that the picture is a little bit cloudy. This cloudiness is a nebula (a cloud of dust and gas in space) that is surrounding the star in our picture. Also visible is a cluster of multiple stars in the top right of the picture.

To get this one picture, I actually had to take nine different pictures and mosaic them together to form what you see here. We have, in the bottom left, the main attraction: the red supergiant star, Antares. Red supergiants are the biggest kinds of stars in our universe.They form when a star, usually a red giant, that is at least 10 times as massive as our sun runs out of hydrogen fuel and starts to burn helium, after first collapsing on itself. The nebula surrounding the star is dust and gas ejected by the aging star. In the outside pictures of this nine-part mosaic, there are visible several "artifacts." You can see the rays of light coming from the star, but also visible are a couple of rings. These are actually not there, but are merely in the picture because of the telescope getting too much exposure to Antares' light. Finally, in the top right, there are many stars close together. This is a globular star cluster by the name of NGC 6144, containing perhaps hundreds of thousands of stars. The bright stars in this cluster are actually only 100,000 times as bright as Antares, which explains why this great star is so bright. Antares is estimated to be about 550 light years away; this picture's maximum angular size is about 64 arcminutes, while its linear size is 1,440,695 light years across.

References:

Coffey, Jerry. "Antares Star." Universe Today. 15 Nov. 2009. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <http://www.universetoday.com/44911/antares-star/>.

Kaler, Jim. "Antares." JIM KALER. 05 June 1998. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <http://stars.astro.illinois.edu/sow/antares.html>.

McClure, Bruce. "M4: Globular Cluster near Antares | Clusters Nebulae Galaxies | EarthSky." EarthSky.org - A Clear Voice for Science. 29 May 2009. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <http://earthsky.org/clusters-nebulae-galaxies/m4-globular-cluster-short-hop-from-antares>.

Right Ascension (J2000) 16:29:52
Declination (J2000) -26:12:02
Filters used Clear
Exposure time per filter 20x1 sec. exposures for Antares, 2x60 sec exposures for the remaining 8 pictures
Date observed March 27, 2011

 

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