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Contains:  M 36, NGC 1960
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M36 Pinwheel Cluster - Carbon Star, 


            Jerry Macon
M36 Pinwheel Cluster - Carbon Star
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M36 Pinwheel Cluster - Carbon Star

Technical card

Dates:March 28, 2019

Astrodon Gen 2 L 36mm: 20x100" (gain: 99.00) -15C bin 1x1
Astrodon Gen 2 RGB 36mm: 107x100" (gain: 99.00) -15C bin 1x1

Integration: 3.5 hours

Avg. Moon age: 22.43 days

Avg. Moon phase: 47.02%

Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 4.00

Basic astrometry details job: 2616540

RA center: 5h 36' 17"

DEC center: +34° 8' 16"

Pixel scale: 0.701 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 177.579 degrees

Field radius: 0.568 degrees

Resolution: 4656x3520

Locations: Dark Star Observatory, Taos, New Mexico, United States

Data source: Own remote observatory

Remote source: Non-commercial independent facility


Images from the following two scopes (piggybacked) contributed to this image:
AG12+ASI1600MM at .70 asec/pix
TV127is+ASI183MM at .75 asec/pix.
They were all registered to the best Ha image taken on the AG12.
Using L (synthetic from RGB) from the TV NP127is refractor effectively eliminates the spikes from the AG12.

The Original is an expanded display of the upper right corner which includes a rather rare star called a Carbon Star, strongly red-orange in color. Carbon stars are mostly cool, evolved red giants. They’ve run through their hydrogen, collapsed toward their cores, and begun the process of fusing higher-order elements. As the fusion continues, core gases circulate upward, carrying the by-products of fusion — in this case, carbon and oxygen — to the stars’ outer layers. When circumstances are right, carbon and carbon compounds proliferate in the circumstellar shell material, forming a “soot” layer that gives a carbon star its particular red-orange color.
This Carbon star is designated V* OW Aur, at 05 35 01.45 +33 50 59.65 with a maximum magnitude of 12.3.

Messier 36 (M36), also known as the Pinwheel Cluster, is an open cluster located in the northern constellation Auriga, the Charioteer.

Messier 36 occupies an area of 12 arc minutes in the sky, corresponding to a linear extension of 14 light years. The cluster has an apparent magnitude of 6.3 and lies at a distance of 4,100 light years from Earth. It has the designation NGC 1960 in the New General Catalogue.

The Pinwheel Cluster contains at least 60 stars and bears a resemblance to the more famous Pleiades cluster (M45) in the constellation Taurus. The two clusters have almost the same physical size and, like many members of the Pleiades cluster, many members of M36 are also rapid spinners. M36, however, is one of the most distant open clusters catalogued by Messier and about 10 times as far away as the Pleiades.

Messier 36 is one of the fainter open clusters in Messier’s catalogue, but it can easily be seen in binoculars and small telescopes. Binoculars will show a faint, fuzzy patch of light and small telescopes at low or medium powers will reveal just over a dozen brightest stars in the cluster, arranged in an X-type shape. 6-inch telescopes will resolve about 25 stars, while 12-inch instruments will reveal stars across the cluster.

With an estimated age of 25 million years, Messier 36 is relatively young and does not have any red giant stars. The brightest confirmed members are of apparent magnitude 9 and have the stellar classification B2. The brightest star in M36 is about 360 times more luminous than the Sun.



Jerry Macon
License: Attribution Creative Commons


  • M36 Pinwheel Cluster - Carbon Star, 


            Jerry Macon
  • Final
    M36 Pinwheel Cluster - Carbon Star, 


            Jerry Macon

Sky plot

Sky plot


M36 Pinwheel Cluster - Carbon Star, 


            Jerry Macon