Open Cluster in Scorpius
6 is a group of several hundred stars about 1600 light years away. Many open clusters can resemble everyday
objects if you use a little imagination, and looking through a telescope with a
wide-field eyepiece it is pretty easy to see the butterfly pattern in Messier
6. I have probably shown this
cluster to hundreds of children at various public observing events, and when I
ask them if they can find the butterfly pattern, most of them see it
Messier 6 is also a nice showpiece
because it includes a variety of star colors. Most of the stars are white or
blue-white, but a few are yellow or orange. In fact, the brightest star in the
cluster, the variable star BM Scorpii on the edge of
the butterfly’s left wing, has a distinct orange color.
|Distance (light yrs)
|Field of View
||29' x 22'
Image details: Exposure times of 24 minutes luminance and 9 minutes each of red, green, and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M imager and a 14" Meade LX850 telescope at f/6.