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Hal Heaton

Location of Photo:

Burke-Gaffney Observatory, Halifax, NS

Date/Time of photo:

2022 September 10 (moonless)


Telescope: Planewave Corrected Dall-Kirkham, 0.61-m aperture, f/6.5; Camera: 2x2 binned Apogee Aspen CG-16M (with Astrodon R, G, B filters); Exposure Time: 60-sec, unguided; Plate Scale 0.94 arcsec/binned pixel.


Stars are born deep within dark and massive molecular clouds, but they rarely form alone. More often groups of stars condense out of those environments over a relatively short period of time, each with a color revealing their surface temperature. As time goes by, the effects of their combined radiation and surface-generated winds gradually disperse any remaining material surrounding their nursery into interstellar space. Slowly, the cluster emerges into full view at optical wavelengths. As it ages, the motions of its individual stars causes the cluster to spread out and many of its stars move far from their natal site. The beautiful open cluster NGC 1245 shown here is a striking example. Situated in the Milky Way constellation Perseus at a distance of about 10,435 lys, it contains more than 470 members and is thought to have formed about 1.2 billion years ago. Still retaining a panorama of color and brightness. the imaged scene spans 16.8 arcmin on a side, and is oriented with north pointing up. East is to the left.