M24 (NGC 6603) & The Black Hole

Paramount ME
Exposure Time: 6 X 5 mins.
Total Exposure Time: 30 Minutes
Seeing: Average
Transparency: Below Average
The images were stacked using Deep Sky Stacker and Processed using Photoshop cs2

Messier 24 (M24) is one of the few particular objects, or curiosities, in Messier's catalog: Under entry No. 24 in his catalog, Charles Messier list a large object of 1 1/2 deg in extension, which he included on June 20, 1764, and describes it as "a large nebulosity in which there are many stars of different magnitudes."

Messier object number 24 is not a "true" deep sky object, but a huge star cloud in Milky Way, a pseudo-cluster of stars spread thousands of light years along the line of sight, perceived through a chance tunnel in the interstellar dust. They form a portion of a spiral arm of our galaxy.

The interstellar dust generally dims the light of stars behind it. But the dust is patchy. For some unknown reason it clumps in clouds typically 25 light years across: many such clouds can be clearly distinguished, projected against the star cloud. There are typically two such clouds in a line of sight 1,000 light years long in the Milky Way. But even over the 30,000 light-years to the central regions of the Galaxy there could be, and by chance are, clearer windows than normal in the interstellar medium. M24 is in effect one of these windows.

Manchester, MI - 8/14/09
Imaged By: Jeff Thrush