The young open cluster NGC 6705, Messier 11
AAO image reference AAT 90.    « Previous || Next »

The young open cluster NGC 6705, Messier 11, M11.jpg, NGC6705.jpg
Top left is NE. Image width is about 11 arc min
Image and text © 1993-2010, Australian Astronomical Observatory, photograph by David Malin.

M11 is only a few degrees from the Galactic plane, in the constellation of Scutum. All around are dark clouds and clusters of bright blue stars like M11. such clusters are found scattered among the spiral arms of the Milky Way and other galaxies like it. M11 is a substantial cluster, with a mass of about 4000 solar masses, and it is about 5000 light years away.

They are a clear sign that star formation is active, because such clusters are usually very young and short lived. The stars in M11 all formed from the same material and at about the same time, about 200 million years ago. In a billion years or so, all the brightest stars in the group will have evolved into cool supergiants and exploded as supernovae, leaving behind large numbers of low mass, relatively faint stars like those in Trumpler 5, whose lives will be much longer and whose end will be much less dramatic.

Related Images
AAT 91. Trumpler 5, an ancient open cluster
Constellation of Scutum (external site)

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Updated by David Malin, 2010, August 1