|Open Cluster M67 in Cancer
Open Cluster M67 contains about 500 stars at a distance of 2700 light years, in the direction of constellation Cancer. M67's age of
over 3 billion years is much older than most other open clusters. Usually, the weak gravitational attraction of the loosely grouped open
clusters allows them to become disrupted by interaction with other stars, clusters, and interstellar gas and dust. Thus, most open clusters
only survive intact for a few hundred million years, and so remain dominated by young bright blue-white stars, which burn out faster than
dimmer yellow and red suns. In contrast, this image of M67 shows mostly white and yellow suns, indicative of its greater age. It is
unclear why M67 has survived so long, but some have suggested that because M67 is slightly above the galactic plane, it may have
avoided the type of gravitational interactions that disperse most open clusters.
This image combined 24 minutes each of red, green and blue exposures, for a total of 72 minutes exposure. An ST10XME camera was
used through a TEC 140mm refractor at my home astroshed under light-polluted skies.
Music: Living in the Past, by Tull