Open Cluster Messier 26

Object Description

The discovery of this open cluster is usually attributed to Le Gentil sometime before 1750. It was found by Messier on June 20, 1764. He described it as follows: «Indistinguishable with a 3.5 foot [focal length] telescope. He needs a better instrument. Does not contain nebula.» In his edition of his catalog, published in 1784, he wrote that he could see it well in a Gregorian telescope at 104x. [4]

Kharchenko et al. state in the «Catalogue of Open Cluster Data (COCD)» [257] published in 2005 a distance of 1582 pc (5160 ly) and an estimated age of logt = 8.3 (108.3 ≈ 200 million years). In WEBDA [138] one finds a distance of 1600 pc (5219 ly) and the age logt = 7,931 (107,931 ≈ 85 million years).

«Revised New General Catalogue and Index Catalogue» Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke, 2021 [277]
DesignationNGC 6694
TypeOCL (I1m)
Right Ascension18h 45m 15.0s
Declination-09° 23' 06"
Diameter8.00 arcmin
Visual magnitude8.0 mag
Dreyer DescriptionCl, cL, pRi, pC, st 12…15
IdentificationM 26, OCL 67

Finder Chart

The open star cluster M 26 is located in the constellation Scutum south of the shield cloud. Extend the line of the stars Ionnina (α Scuti) - δ Scuti by about 50 arc minutes to the southeast. He is hiding there in the starry area of the Milky Way. M26 is best observed in the months of May to August.

Chart Messier 26
Chart created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. [149, 160]


4«Burnham's Celestial Handbook: An Observer's Guide to the Universe Beyond the Solar System» by Robert Burnham; Dover Publications, Inc.; Voume I: ISBN 0-486-23567-X; Volume II: ISBN 0-486-23568-8; Volume III: ISBN 0-486-23673-0
138WEBDA, Sternwarte Genf;
149SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
160The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;
257«Astrophysical parameters of Galactic open clusters» N. V. Kharchenko, A. E. Piskunov, S. Röser, E. Schilbach and R.-D. Scholz; A&A Volume 438, Number 3, August II 2005; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361:20042523
277«Historische Deep-Sky Kataloge» von Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke; (2021-02-17)