M103, NGC581


About this image

The irregular star cluster M103, or NGC581, is a distant cluster in the constellation Cassiopeia. One of the more remote open clusters, at about 8000 light-years, M103s relatively small angular size still corresponds to a sizable 14 light-year diameter (this image is only 8.6 arc minutes across). The bright binary (upper right, NW) is not part of the cluster. M103 may be over 20 million years old (there seems to be some dispute over its actual age). M103 is one of the 'extra' objects added from Méchain's observations but not actually observed by Messier. This true-color picture was created from fifteen images taken in the BVR pass-bands at the Kitt Peak National Observatory's 2.1-meter telescope, during the night of December 24th 2000 (yes, Christmas Eve).

More: stars page, open clusters page, messier page.

Minimum credit line: Hillary Mathis, N.A.Sharp/NOAO/AURA/NSF

Downloadable versions:
400 x 400 25 kb color JPEG (on this page)
1700 x 1700 456 kb color JPEG
1700 x 1700 2.8 Mb 8-bit color TIFF
1700 x 1700 8.4 Mb 24-bit color TIFF
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