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Calendar of astronomy, December sky

Constellation Perseus

 Automatic translationAutomatic translation Category: children
Updated January 21, 2013

Perseus is a constellation very luminous, located in a very rich environment. If you draw a line from the star Almach (γ And) in the constellation Andromeda and is continuing this line to the east, then arrives on the stars forming the constellation Perseus. It is located between Pegasus and the W of Cassiopeia. To the naked eye, this constellation has the shape of a semicircle to which are added some straight lines. The main star, the brightest, is called Mirfak (α Per) it is a supergiant 600 times larger than our Sun. As for the star Algol (β Per) is a double star eclipse, that is to say that one of them passes in front the other thereby varying the brightness of the whole with a frequency of approximately 3 days. Perseus can be identified by taking the alignment from the Great Square of Pegasus and back along the diagonal of Andromeda to Perseus Algol and Capella of Auriga. Conversely, one can start from Capella, the brightest star in the region, and identify its neighbors Algol (β Per) and Mirfak (α Per) towards the West. The easiest way is to find the W of Cassiopeia and following the alignment of the middle bar of the "W" to the south-east, which falls on Mirfak (α Per).

 

In the constellation Perseus, but further in the cosmos at a distance of more than 1400 light years away, there is a cluster of stars one hundred stars, observable with the naked eye. This star cluster called M34 or NGC 1039.

nota: By convention, the names of the stars in a constellation are prefixed by a Greek letter followed by the first 3 letters of the constellation, for example:
α  Ori, β Ori,... (Greek letters: α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ ς σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω).


nota: a light year is exactly 9 460 895 288 762 850 meters.

nota: M is the mark of the Messier catalog, a catalog of astronomical objects look like diffuse nebulae or galaxies.

Image: Constellation Perseus. Image reworked from the Open Source software Stellarium.

 Constellation Perseus

Star cluster M34 or NGC 1039

    

M34 is a bright star clusters discovered by Giovanni Battista Hodierna and published in 1654. M34 is roughly the same apparent size as the full Moon. Messier object M34 is quite bright and wide and it contains hundreds of stars. This is an open cluster that is irregular grouping of stars, composed mainly of young, hot stars from a nebula common. The open cluster usually contains tens to hundreds of stars in a region between 5 and 50 light-years. This cluster is also called, the Spiral Cluster. Easy to locate even in small telescopes, it lies about 1400 light-years from our solar system in the constellation Perseus. Formed at the same time and from the same cloud of gas and dust, all the stars in M34 are older than 200 million years. M34 lies in the plane of our Galaxy, like all star clusters it will eventually disperse under the gravitational tidal effects linked to encounters with interstellar clouds of the Milky Way and other stars.

 

nota: M is the mark of the Messier catalog, a catalog of astronomical objects look like diffuse nebulae or galaxies.

nota: NGC (New General Catalogue) is one of the most popular catalogs in the field of astronomy with the Messier catalog.


nota: A (Abell catalog of clusters of galaxies). It is a catalog published in 1958 by George Abell (1927 - 1983) which lists 4073 clusters of galaxies.  

Image: Open cluster M34, irregular grouping of stars, composed mainly of young, hot stars from a nebula common. A thousand open clusters are listed in the Milky Way. Credit & Copyright: Bob Franke.

 Star cluster M34 or NGC 1039 in the constellation Perseus
 
           
 
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