Unistellar Citizen Astronomers are invited to participate in this week’s quest to observe open cluster Messier 103!
This colorful group of stars is one of the most distant open star clusters known.
- Messier 103 (M103), also known as NGC 581, is an open star cluster
- The stars within open clusters formed together and are loosely bound by gravity.
- It contains about 172 stars, which are mostly white-blue and blue in color
- M103 is about 25 million years old
- It is one of the farthest known open clusters and also one of the smallest
- Located about 10 thousand light years away, spanning about 18 light years across
- It can be found in the constellation Cassiopeia
- Cassiopeia is named after queen Cassiopeia from Greek mythology, wife of King Cepheus. In our night sky, the constellation Cassiopeia can be found next to the constellation Cepheus.
- Cassiopeia is sometimes called the “W constellation” since it is easily identified by its five brightest stars in the shape of a W.
- It was discovered by astronomer and surveyor Pierre Méchain in 1781
- Pierre Méchain was friend and collaborator of Charles Messier, the astronomer who published the famous astronomical catalog known as the Messier Catalogue
- M103 was one of the last objects to be added to the Messier Catalogue
Tips for Observing:
- Search for “M103” in the Explore tab of the Unistellar app.
- Depending on the sky quality at your location, you may want to leave the Enhanced Vision mode on for at least 3 minutes, possibly up to about 10 minutes.
- Recommended Bortle Class is 7 or lower
eVscope image captured by Unistellar Citizen Astronomers Nicole Ruel and Jacques Bérard, from Québec.
We encourage you to share your observations of M103 and join the conversation through our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages using the hashtag #UnistellarChallenge!
If you’d like to send us your observations by email, send them to email@example.com.
Clear skies! 🔭