|M11 "Wild Duck Cluster": Open Star Cluster (Scutum) RA: 18h 51.1m / DEC: -06° 16'.0|
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder
M11, the Wild Duck Cluster, is an amazing sight in almost any aperture. Located within the rich Milky Way star fields of Scutum, this 5.8 magnitude open star cluster is available to the naked eye from a dark site. I use 4.2 magnitude Beta Sct as the starting place for a star hop to the Wild Duck, about 1.8 degrees to the southeast. My drawing is from a 129X view in my 10-inch Newtonian. A relatively bright 9th magnitude star is immediately apparent amidst the cluster stars. This beacon is actually a foreground star not associated with M11. Some 80-odd field stars are shown in my sketch. The cluster presents a patterned appearance with angular sections of closely spaced stars connected by narrow corridors of stars. Perhaps this is where the nickname, Wild Duck, originated. The stars seem to have been carefully organized into their respective sections just as flocks of migrating ducks will organize themselves during flight. These sections are veiled within a delicate glow, giving M11 an overall size of about 12 arc minutes.
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Revised: February 10, 2002 [WDF]