The bright open star cluster Messier 67 in Cancer, shown in an R-band CCD image obtained with the UA 16-inch telescope. This cluster is so nearby that the picture shows almost the entire 20-by-30 arcminute field of our CCD camera. M67 consists of stars of about the same age and chemical makeup as our Sun, making it among the older open clusters that are easy to pick out. By this age of 4-5 billion years, most such clusters (including the one comprising the Sun's siblings) have lost their identity and blended into the general field of stars in the Milky Way. M67 is among the brightest star clusters in the winter sky, but overshadowed for many skywatchers by the naked-eye M44 (the Beehive) in the same constellation - sort of like the Salt River Canyon of Arizona, which would be much more widely appreciated if it weren't so close to the Grand Canyon.
Last changes: 7/2006 © 2006