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.
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')
- Object: M26
- Other Names: NGC 6694
- Object Type: open cluster
- Object Data: Apparent Magnitude = 8, Angular Size = 15 arc-minutes
- Object Position (Equinox 2000): RA= 18h 45.2m, Dec= -09° 24´, Constellation = Scutum
- Date/Time: 2011 Oct 20 at 02:44 UTC
- Location: Bifrost Astronomical Observatory, Portal, AZ
- Mount: Astro-Physics 1200GTO
- Telescope: Takahashi Epsilon 180 Hyperbolic Astrograph
- Camera: Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) (modified with a Baader UV/IR filter)
- Field of View: 1.70° x 2.56° at 1.7 arc-sec/pixel (web version: 10.0 arc-sec/pixel)
- Exposure: 4 x 300s, f/2.8, ISO 800
- File Name: M26-01w.jpg
- Processing (Adobe Camera Raw): Graduated Filter, Vignetting Correction, Noise Reduction, White Balance, Curves
- Processing (Photoshop CS5): Average Images, Curves, Noise Reduction
- Original Image Size: 3454 × 5179 pixels (17.9 MP); 11.5" x 17.3" @ 300 dpi
- Rights: Copyright 2011 by Fred Espenak. All Rights Reserved. See: Image Licensing.