NGC 2266 is a relatively "old" star cluster comprising stars of
around 1 billion years in age. Many of its members
are quite evolved having reached the red giant stage of their lives. Our
own sun will become a red giant when it is around 10 billion years old. This
means that many of the evolved stars in this cluster (the yellow/orange ones)
are much more massive than our own Sun. The more massive a star is, the shorter
In addition this particular cluster lies several thousand light years above the galactic plane. Most galactic star clusters form and disband within the disk of our galaxy. NGC 2266 can therefore be an interesting laboratory for astronomers since its stars have been unaffected by the hubbub of the rest of the galaxy. How did NGC 2266 arrive at its position in the galaxy? How does the composition of gas in the stars of this cluster differ from the current composition of the mixed gas in the disk of the galaxy? How is this cluster similiar to others of the same type? These are the kinds of questions that astronomers would like to answer when observing this otherwise sparkling set of jewels.
|L R G B color production was used to create this image.|
Minimum credit line: Peter Spokes/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
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