Messier 26 or M26 (also designated NGC 6694) is an open cluster in the constellation Scutum. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 8 and its angular diameter is 15 arc-minutes. M26 lies at an estimated distance of 5000 light years. The Equinox 2000 coordinates are RA= 18h 45.2m, Dec= -09° 24´ which makes M26 best seen during the summer. The Messier Summer Star Chart shows the position of all Messier objects visible during that season.

The image above shows the uncropped view of M26 through the Takahashi E-180 Astrograph (North is to right). A 3x enlargement of this image appears to the right.

This open cluster was discovered by Messier in 1764. According to Kharchenko et al. (2005), the distance of M26 is 3740 light years and its diameter is 10 light years. It contains 229 stars and its estimated age is 4-5 million years.

For more information, see the Messier Catalog as well as specific entries for M26 in Wikipedia and SEDS.

Messier's Description of M26

June 20, 1764
`A cluster near Eta and Omicron in Antinous [now Alpha and Delta Scuti], between which there is another one of more brightness: with a telescope of 3.5 feet one cannot distinguish them, one needs to employ a good instrument. This cluster contains no nebulosity.' (diam. 2')

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