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NGC 3532 - open star cluster in Carina

Object description:

The open star cluster NGC 3532 is located in the constellation Carina (Ship's Keel) and can already be seen with the naked eye as a nebulous patch at the edge of the Milky Way in a dark location. The informal name is "Wishing Well Cluster", as it resembles the bottom of a coin-covered well sparkling in the sunlight. Because of its elongated shape, it is also known as the Football Cluster.

NGC 3532 covers slightly more than the area of the moon in the sky (45 arcminutes) and consists of about 400 stars. According to Trumpler, it is classified as type II 1 m. Recent data from the Gaia observations suggest a distance of just under 1600 light years, giving a true diameter of about 22 light years. The age of the stars in NGC 3532 is estimated to be about 300 million years, and an overall mass estimate gives a lower value of about 2000 solar masses.

The bright star - in our image below left - is HD 96 918, also catalogued as the variable X Carinae. It is a classical Cepheid of the type Delta Cephei, is about 3.8 mag bright and classified as spectral type G5.

The reddish region in the right half of the image belongs to the faint emission nebulae in the background, which cover the entire sky region in this area of the Milky Way. In the upper right corner, northwest of the cluster, the stellar density is much lower. Here, dark nebulae in front attenuate the stars in the background.Translated with (free version)

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