OMEGA CENTAURI

The biggest globular star cluster was treated like a star by the ancients, and it has the name "Omega Centauri."  A telescope was required to identify its true nature.

Omega Centauri is located at a declination of -47 degrees, which means it is not visible for observers north of latitude ~36 degrees.  My observatory is at a latitude of 31.4, and it reaches an elevation of 11 degrees above the horizon when it transits in the middle of the night in springtime.

Here's a color image made with a CCD and color filters.

Figure 1.  Omega Centauri fills this field of view that measures 42.2 x 28.3 'arc. Northeast is upper-left.  The white stars are saturated, which masks their true color.  [Meade 10-inch LX200 SCT f/6.3, focal reducer lens f/4.7, True Tech color filter wheel, SBIG ST-8XE CCD; LRGB exposure totals of 2, 1.5, 1.5 and 8 minutes, unguided 30-sec individual exposures, MaxIm DL's digital development (FFT/medium), 2003.03.05/06, Hereford, AZ residence].

This globular cluster is estimated to contain 10 million stars, and is located 18,000 light years away.

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This site opened:  March 6, 2003 Last Update:  March 6, 2003