Open clusters of stars can be near or far, young or old,
and diffuse or compact.
Found near the plane
of our Milky Way galaxy, they
contain from 100 to 10,000 stars, all of which formed at
nearly the same time.
Bright blue stars frequently
distinguish younger open clusters.
on the upper left, is relatively nearby at 2800
light years distant, relatively young at 150 million years old, and relatively diffuse, with about 2500 stars spread out over a
volume 30 light years across.
An older and more compact open cluster,
is at the lower right.
NGC 2158 is four times
more distant than
over 10 times older, and much more compact with many
more stars in roughly the same volume of space.
NGC 2158's bright blue stars have
leaving cluster light to be dominated by
older and yellower stars.
clusters are seen toward the constellation of
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