|For Valentine's Day, the Heart Cluster M50 in Monoceros
The Heart Cluster (also known as M 50 or NGC 2323) is an open cluster in the constellation Monoceros. The SEDS website reports that it may
have been discovered by G. D. Cassini before 1711 and independently discovered by Charles Messier in 1772. M50 is at a distance of about 3,200
light-years from Earth. Various authors have described a 'heart-shaped' figure, but I could not find a specific diagram of the shape. In my photo above,
diffraction spikes around 26 bright stars help to define my interpretation of the heart shape. If you float your cursor over the image, a hazy false glow of
red, for Valentine's Day, helps outline the heart shape.
This image combined 50 minutes each of red, green, and blue exposures, all unbinned. A QSI-583wsg camera was used through a 130 mm
Astro-physics refracting telescope at the Hidden Lake Observatory.