Open Clusters Photo Gallery

An open cluster is a loose collection of stars that formed together from the same interstellar cloud. Thus all the stars in an open cluster are about the same age and distance, and have a similar initial elemental composition. Of course, the masses, temperatures and the stage of stellar evolution can vary considerably from star to star within an open cluster.

The typical open cluster contains several hundred stars that are loosely bound by gravity. Over time, the gravitational tug of outside stars and gas in the galaxy disperse an open cluster within several hundred million years.

Over 1100 open clusters are known in the Milky Way. They are found primarily within the galaxy's disk along with the Sun and the naked-eye stars. We can only see a small fraction (1% to 2%) of the open clusters in the Milky Way since most are hidden behind the intervening gas and dust in other parts of the galaxy.

The 18th-century French astronomer Charles Messier recorded 26 open clusters in his Messier Catalog of deep sky objects. For more information, see the Wikipedia entry about open clusters.

Click on each thumbnail to see a larger image.




Open Clusters - Messier Catalog

M6-01
M6
Butterfly Cluster
open cluster

M7-01
M7
Ptolemy Cluster
open cluster

M11-01
M11
Wild Duck Cluster
open cluster

M18-01
M18

open cluster

M21-01
M21

open cluster

M23-01
M23

open cluster

M25-01
M25

open cluster

M26-01
M26

open cluster

M29-01
M29

open cluster

M34-01
M34

open cluster

M35-01
M35

open cluster

M36-01
M36

open cluster

M37-01
M37

open cluster

M38-01
M38

open cluster

M39-01
M39

open cluster

M41-01
M41

open cluster

M44-01
M44
Beehive Cluster
open cluster

M45-01
M45
Pleiades
open cluster

M46-01
M46

open cluster

M47-01
M47

open cluster

M48-01
M48

open cluster

M50-01
M50

open cluster

M52-01
M52

open cluster

M67-01
M67

open cluster

M93-01
M93

open cluster

M103-01
M103

open cluster




Open Clusters - Messier & More

M07-01
M 7
NGC 6475

hkPer-01
h & X Persei
NGC 884 and NGC 869

Hyades-01
Hyades
___

M44-02
Beehive Cluster
and Mars






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