M41 Open Star Cluster: Canis Major

M41 (NGC 2287) is a spectacular, and sizeable, superb open star cluster 4 degrees South of Sirius, the Dog Star – brightest star in the sky, located in the constellation of Canis Major. (The Great Dog) M41 spans an area greater than that of the full moon and is richly populated – containing about 100 stars. Most of these look to be white stars but there are a pair of bright yellow stars at the heart of the cluster, with a sprinkling of red or orange giant stars. The brightest orange giant star is a K3 type star, magnitude +6.3, and there are also several white dwarf stars.

The M41 open star cluster is also known as Collinder 118 or the Little Beehive, after the renowned Beehive star cluster, M44, located in the constellation of Cancer.

M41 Open Star Cluster (Public Domain Image)

Credit:  Atlas Image (or Atlas Image mosaic) obtained as part of the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the national Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation.

The product of a solitary dusty gas cloud in space, young star cluster M41 is a loose cluster of stars moving together through space, the stars giving the impression of cascading out from the heart of the cluster. From its position within the Milky Way Galaxy, it is discernible to, and straightforward to discover, even without instrumental assistance, as an indistinct haze. It is most prominent December – February and seen through telescopes or binoculars it is a breath-taking object to view, even when the moon is brightly lit, or the skies of urban locations are polluted by street lighting. And it is here, within the Canis Major system, the exotic twin star-sun world Medias-CM5* is located – a shimmering gem nestling deep in the heart of the M41 star cluster.

(*Medias-CM5 is not an “official” world within M41/CMa but rather an “unofficial addition!”)


Messier 41 – M41 Open star Cluster: www.freestarcharts.com

M41: a faint star cluster near bright Sirius: www.earthsky.org

9 thoughts on “M41 Open Star Cluster: Canis Major

  1. I will now admit that looking ‘up’ to view the sky with regularity is not common with me.
    So when you point out something special like ‘M41’. I just have not seen it Wolfie.
    However, I am so happy you have and are now telling me (and others) about it!
    thank you dear heart! Eddie

    1. 😁I should imagine that goes for 99.99999% of anyone who reads this and those who never come near it too!😅 But not to worry, it lays some ground work for the world of Medias if nothing else😃 Thank you for taking a look Eddie🤗

  2. I’ve seen that hazy blurry star cluster, Icewolf, and have always been fascinated by it. I always thought it was amazing just how far into space I was looking, but I always guessed the distance due to its blurriness… I realise now some of the brighter stars 🌟 may be further away!
    Medias-CM5 seems to have distinct possibilities! Twin stars… I think the closest we’ll get to experience that will be when Betelgeuse goes supernova, giving us the appearance of two suns… although I think we’re a few years away from that yet!

  3. Hopefully no supernovae occurring from Medias itself! If you have seen the star cluster that’s great 👍 and so you have already had a not so close encounter with Medias-CM5 too!

    1. I found your reply! Hehehe! 🤣
      As for the supernovae, we shall have to see, methinks… although with the light-time-span-years-ago-reaching-us-now-thingy it’s possible one may have happened and we haven’t realised yet… and yes! That blurry little blotch of stars is a great find in the night sky! 🌙

      1. That’s not the most palatable of thoughts Tom! 🤔 Not realised yet… meaning the effects of said supernova may yet to be felt…oh dear!🤪 Yes that blurry star blotch maybe housing a Pyramid Ice-Flame wolf or 2 eyeballing through cobalt blue eyes across the not so distant, in this case, void of space! Don’t look too hard into the blotch!!😅

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