Open Cluster in Puppis 

Messier 47 is a bright group of stars just 1.5 degrees west of another open cluster, Messier 46. Both are easy to see in binoculars or a small telescope. They are an interesting pair because of their very different appearances. Whereas Messier 46 contains well over 100 stars of fairly uniform brightness, the stars of Messier 47 vary greatly in brightness. It features a few very bright blue-white stars, some stars of medium brightness, and many dimmer ones.

Although they appear close together in the sky, Messier 47 is actually about 3 times nearer to us.

Magnitude 4.4
Apparent Size 25'
Distance (light yrs) 1,550
Right Ascension 7:36.6
Declination -14 30
Field of View 35' x 27'

Image details:  Exposure times of 15 minutes luminance and 9 minutes each of red, green and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M imager and a 12" Meade telescope at f/5.6.

March 2012