Best of AOP - Star Clusters


M11 got its nickname, the Wild Duck Cluster, from Admiral Smyth. His view in 1835 seemed to elicit visions of wild ducks flying in the distant sky. With the growth of large cities, seeing similar flocks fill the sky are most rare indeed. This is certainly one of the more compact examples of open star clusters with members numbering nearly 3000 stars. The oldest stars in this cluster are only 220 million years old, indicating that this cluster is still quite young. But the true vision of wild ducks can be better glimpsed by our understanding of these starsʼ orbits. A picture like this is only a snapshot of the convoluted and complex orbital interactions these stars dance through time. Each star affects the other in their messy mingle about each other; as ducks they would appear to be very confused. A stargazer on a planet orbiting one of these stars would see a sky filled with hundreds of nearly identical first magnitude stars. Image trying to keep track of their names!

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Last Updated: 24-Jun-2014

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20in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.1

Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

LRGB color production was used to create this image.

Luminance = RGB (synthetic) binned 1x1

Red = 6 minutes binned 1x1

Green = 6 minutes binned 1x1

Blue = 6 minutes binned 1x1

Minimum credit line: Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF