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01.03.2017 (IEEC)

The star cluster M46, picture of February of the Observatori Astronòmic del Montsec

Each month the Observatori Astronòmic del Montsec (OAdM) of IEEC publishes an outstanding image from the observations made there. In February, the protagonist is the star cluster M46.


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The clusters usually consist of very young stars. In fact, they are the result of the birth of these stars from huge clouds of hydrogen. In the case of M46, its stars have an age of 300 million years, is about 5000 light years away and is visible even with a small telescope during winter nights. The particularity of this cluster is found at the top of the image, where in contrast to the young stars, features the colors of a stellar corpse: the planetary nebula NGC 2438. In fact, it is estimated that this nebula is just 3000 light years away, so just by chance that we see in the foreground on the more distant stars in M46.


 


 


The image was made by the Joan Oró Telescope using several broadband filters and total of only 30-minutes exposure.