M50 - The Heart Shaped Cluster

Credits: Keith Turnecliff, Long Itchington

Messier 50 (M50), nicknamed the Heart-Shaped Cluster, is a large, bright open cluster located in the constellation Monoceros.
The cluster has an apparent magnitude of 5.9 and lies at an approximate distance of 3,200 light years from Earth. It has the designation NGC 2323 in the New General Catalogue.

Facts about M50 by Keith Turnecliff

At least two or three relatively bright stars in M50 can be resolved in binoculars, while small telescopes reveal the cluster�s distinctive heart-shaped figure. 6-inch and 8-inch telescopes show at least 40 of the cluster�s blue-white stars, as well as some yellow and orange stars. The best time of year to observe M50 is in the months of December, January and February.

This star chart represents the view from Long Itchington for mid February at 10pm.
Credits: Image courtesy of Starry Night Pro Plus 8, researched and implemented by Keith Turnecliff.