M 41 - Open Star Cluster in Canis Major

M 41 is a open cluster lying at the heart of the constellation of Canis Major, the larger of Orion's two hunting dogs. It is relatively large in appearance, spanning 38 arcminutes (slightly larger than the width of a full moon). It lies 2300 light years away and has an actual diameter of 25 light years. It contains approximately 100 stars, including some red giants.

At a visual magnitude is 4.5, it is visible to the naked eye under dark skies. It is believed that Aristotle may have observed this cluster in about 324 B.C. but it was first catalogued in 1654 by Giovanni Hodierna. Charles Messier added this to his catalogue in 1765.

Telescope: Sky-Watcher 120ED
Camera: Modified Canon 650D; raw capture; ISO 800
Mount: Orion Sirius; guided by SSAG on 50mm Stellarvue scope
Exposures: 18 @ 5 min.
Processing: Images were converted in CameraRaw. They were aligned and combined in ImagesPlus. The composite image was adjusted in Photoshop.
Note: Taken from my backyard in southeastern Minnesota on 2/26/26 and 2/27/16
 
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