Messier 11, the Wild Duck Cluster   HOME INDEX BACK NEXT

Open Cluster in Scutum

View larger image

This is one of the richest open clusters in the sky.  An early astronomer, Smyth, likened its appearance to a flock of wild ducks in flight.  Through binoculars or a small telescope, it does have a wedge-shaped appearance, but with larger telescopes (and in this photograph) the center of the cluster gets filled with dimmer stars and the wedge is not very obvious anymore.  Messier 11 is located on the edge of the Scutum Star Cloud, a very dense section of the Milky Way, and a wide-field view of M11 and its surroundings gives a good idea of the star density.

Magnitude 5.8
Apparent Size 14'
Distance (light yrs) 5,500
Right Ascension 18:51.1
Declination -6 16
Field of View 29' x 22'

Image details:  Exposure times of 39 minutes luminance and 18 minutes each of red, green, and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M imager and a 14" Meade LX850 telescope at f/6.

July 2015