This image of the remarkable open cluster M-11 was taken by 13 year old Jake Hofer from his home in Rapid City, SD, thus demonstrating the new remote observing capability at Badlands Observatory.  Jake controlled the motions of the telescope and operated the CCD camera himself via the Internet from 60 miles away.  M-11, also known as the Wild Duck Cluster, contains thousands of stars and is just over five thousand light years distant.  The stars in this cluster all formed together about 250 million years ago.  Open clusters, also called galactic clusters, contain fewer and younger stars than globular clusters.  M-11 is located towards the center of our Milky Way galaxy in the constellation Scutum.  Jake will be attending the 8th grade at Dakota Middle School in Rapid City, SD this coming fall.

 

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