|Open Clusters M46, M47, and More!
M46 and M47 in the constellation Puppis are neglected by northern observers because they are so low in the horizon. Only for a few hours each
night during the coldest winter months can these clusters be spotted, hovering above the trees. Like a pair of mismatched jewels, the faint 400
stars of M46 contrast with the bright but sparse 50 stars of M47. M46 shows its age of 300 million years with some yellow suns at a distant
5400 light years, while younger M47 at 80 million years old still has a few blue-white brilliant stars at 1600 light years. But there are three
surprises in this view. In the upper right, the loose open cluster NGC 2423 can be defined from background stars. In the lower center, a tiny
cluster NGC 2425 can be seen. Best of all, crowning M46 is the tiny planetary nebula NGC 2438, which is just superimposed, and not part of
M46. Through the wide-field eyepiece of a small telescope, this cluster of clusters seems so happy together!
This image combined 30 minutes each of red, green and blue exposures, for a total imagining time of 90 minutes. An ST10XME camera was
used through a Takahashi Sky90 refractor with a Tak reducer.
Music: Happy Together, the Turtles