Messier 21

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Messier 21
Messier 21
2MASS atlas image
Observation data (J2000.0 epoch)
Right ascension18h 04m 13.0s[1]
Declination−22° 29′ 24″[1]
Distance3,930 ly (1,205 pc)[2]
Apparent magnitude (V)6.5[3]
Apparent dimensions (V)14.0[4]
Physical characteristics
Mass783.4[5] M
Estimated age6.6×106 years[5]
Other designationsMessier 21, NGC 6531, OCl 26.0[6]
See also: Open cluster, List of open clusters

Messier 21 or M21, also designated NGC 6531, is an open cluster of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius. It was discovered and catalogued by Charles Messier on June 5, 1764.[7] This cluster is relatively young and tightly packed. A few blue giant stars have been identified in the cluster, but Messier 21 is composed mainly of small dim stars.[3] With a magnitude of 6.5, M21 is not visible to the naked eye; however, with the smallest binoculars it can be easily spotted on a dark night. The cluster is positioned near the Trifid nebula (NGC 6514), but is not associated with that nebulosity.[8] It forms part of the Sagittarius OB1 association.[9]

This cluster is located 1,205 pc[2] away from Earth with an extinction of 0.87.[10] Messier 21 is around 6.6 million years old with a mass of 783.4 M.[5] It has a tidal radius of 11.7 pc,[5] with a nucleus radius of 1.6±0.1 pc and a coronal radius of 3.6±0.2 pc. There are at least 105±11 members within the coronal radius down to visual magnitude 15.5,[11] including many early B-type stars.[8] An estimated 40–60 of the observed low-mass members are expected to be pre-main-sequence stars,[8] with 26 candidates identified based upon hydrogen alpha emission and the presence of lithium in the spectrum.[10] The stars in the cluster do not show a significant spread in ages, suggesting that the star formation was triggered all at once.[11]



  1. ^ a b Wu, Zhen-Yu; et al. (November 2009), "The orbits of open clusters in the Galaxy", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 399 (4): 2146–2164, arXiv:0909.3737, Bibcode:2009MNRAS.399.2146W, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.15416.x.
  2. ^ a b Kharchenko, N. V.; et al. (2005), "Astrophysical parameters of Galactic open clusters", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 438 (3): 1163, arXiv:astro-ph/0501674, Bibcode:2005A&A...438.1163K, doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20042523.
  3. ^ a b Frommert, Hartmut; Kronberg, Christine, "Messier 21", SEDS Messier pages, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, retrieved 2018-11-12.
  4. ^ Morales, Esteban F. E.; et al. (2013), "Stellar clusters in the inner Galaxy and their correlation with cold dust emission", Astronomy & Astrophysics, 560: A76, arXiv:1310.2612, Bibcode:2013A&A...560A..76M, doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201321626.
  5. ^ a b c d Piskunov, A. E.; et al. (January 2008), "Tidal radii and masses of open clusters", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 477 (1): 165–172, Bibcode:2008A&A...477..165P, doi:10.1051/0004-6361:20078525.
  6. ^ "M 21". SIMBAD. Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  7. ^ Adam, Len (2018), Imaging the Messier Objects Remotely from Your Laptop, The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series, Springer, pp. 128–130, ISBN 3319653857.
  8. ^ a b c Park, Byeong-Gon; et al. (December 2001), "The Galactic Open Cluster NGC 6531 (M21)", Journal of the Korean Astronomical Society, 34 (3): 149–155, Bibcode:2001JKAS...34..149P, doi:10.5303/JKAS.2001.34.3.149.
  9. ^ van den Ancker, M. E.; Thé, P. S.; de Winter, D. (June 2000), The central part of the young open cluster NGC 6383, arXiv:astro-ph/0006283,
  10. ^ a b Fedele, D.; et al. (February 2010), "Timescale of mass accretion in pre-main-sequence stars", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 510: 7, arXiv:0911.3320, Bibcode:2010A&A...510A..72F, doi:10.1051/0004-6361/200912810, A72.
  11. ^ a b Forbes, Douglas (September 1996), "Star Formation in NGC 6531-Evidence From the age Spread and Initial Mass Function", Astronomical Journal, 112: 1073, Bibcode:1996AJ....112.1073F, doi:10.1086/118079.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: Sky map 18h 04m 36s, −22° 30′ 00″