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What's in the Sky?

Sunday 18th of March

M37 Open Cluster
Messier 37 (also known as M37 or NGC 2099) is the richest open cluster in the constellation Auriga. It is the brightest of three open clusters in Auriga and was discovered by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Battista Hodierna before 1654. French astronomer Charles Messier independently rediscovered M37 in September of 1764 but all three clusters were recorded by Hodierna.

M37 is located in the antipodal direction, opposite from the Galactic Center as seen from Earth. Estimates of its age range from 347 million to 550 million years. It has 1,500 times the mass of the Sun and contains over 500 identified stars, with roughly 150 stars brighter than magnitude 12.5.

M37 has at least a dozen red giants and its hottest surviving main sequence star is of stellar classification B9 V. The abundance of elements other than hydrogen and helium, what astronomers term metallicity, is similar to, if not slightly higher than, the abundance in the Sun.

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