Open Cluster in Cygnus 

Messier 39 is a large, coarse open cluster of about 30 bright stars in a triangular shape, about 950 light years away.  It occupies an area of sky about the size of the full moon, and it can be seen with the naked eye as a dim hazy patch about 10 degrees northeast of Deneb, the brightest star in Cygnus.  Through binoculars, a dozen or so stars can be seen, and with a telescope at low power, its blue-white stars shine brightly against the Milky Way background.

Magnitude 4.6
Apparent Size 32'
Distance (light yrs) 950
Right Ascension 21:32.2
Declination +48 26

Image details:  20 images, each 60 seconds at ISO 1600, taken with a Canon 400D camera through a Meade 12” telescope at f/5.4.

October 2008