Messier 11: The Wild Duck Cluster, also cataloged as M11, is a bright open cluster that stays relatively visible even when the Moon is up.
Friday, September 17
The Wild Duck Cluster (M11) is a great target this evening. Located in Scutum, it’s still relatively high in the south after sunset. You can find M11 by dropping 1.8° southeast of 4th-magnitude Beta (β) Scuti, also known as 6 Aquilae.
M11 is a bright, rich cluster of nearly 3,000 young stars estimated to be between 220 million and 250 million years old. With a visual magnitude of about 6, a keen-eyed observer might just be able to see it from a dark location — although the Moon may interfere with any attempts to find it without optical aid this evening. However, with either binoculars or a wide-field telescope, this beautiful cluster is easy to find and a real crowd-pleaser. It stretches about 14' across and its brightest stars form a rough v shape, which is how the cluster earned its name...