Open Star Cluster M26

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The open star cluster known as M26 likely contains perhaps a few hundred stars. Its distance is estimated to be 5,200 light years from our solar system.  This image is centered on ninth magnitude a star known as HD 173348.

This star cluster is located within the constellation of Scutum. In 1764 the French comet hunter, Charles Messier, made it the twenty sixth object, M 26, of his now famous catalog.

This image was obtained using the Palomar Observatory's 200-inch Hale Telescope with its Adaptive Optics camera. The observers were Caltech's Antonin Bouchez and Chad Trujillo (now with the Gemini Observatory). This is a false color image that was originally taken with a Ks (2.150 microns) filter.

The research was based on observations obtained at the Hale Telescope, Palomar Observatory, as part of a collaborative agreement between the California Institute of Technology, its divisions Caltech Optical Observatories and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (operated for NASA), and Cornell University.

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