|This image was taken
with a Canon rebel DSLR camera thru a VERNONscope 80mm APO Refractor.
The picture below was taken with an STL-1301E camera thru our 20 inch telescope working at F/5. The field of view is about 20x20 arc minutes.
M-50 consists of about 200 stars with a total brightness of 1,600 times that of the sun. G.D. Cassini reported finding a nebula in the general area sometime before 1711, and thus he was possibly the first observer of M-50. Messier rediscovered it in April, 1772, and recognized it as a star cluster.
Charles Messier (April 5th, 1772):
'Cluster of small stars, more or less brilliant. It was while observing the comet of 1772 that I observed this cluster......'
Quote from Dreyer's New General Catalog(NGC) for NGC 2323:
"Remarkable! Cluster, very large, rich in stars, westward compressed, extended, stars of magnitude 12 to 16."
Quote from T.W. Webb's Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes(1859):
"Brilliant cluster, straggling and containing a red star. In a superb neighborhood."
The best distance and diameter estimates are: distance = 2,950 light years, diameter = 9 light years.
George Normandin, KAS
March 27th, 2008