ζ Puppis

Zeta Puppis is a supergiant and one of the most luminous stars in the heavens, with a luminosity of about 60,000 times that of the Sun.

The region around zeta Puppis is a particularly dense region of the Milky Way. Two star clusters especially deserve your attention—NGC 2477 and NGC 2451; these are both to the northwest of zeta: binoculars.

The open cluster NGC 2477 deserves to be in the Messier catalogue; some 300 stars in a fairly dense centre region with an apparent magnitude of 5.7.

NGC 2451 is much more scattered; about forty fainter stars, requiring a telescope to get the most out of this open cluster. The yellow giant star ‘c’ Puppis is in the centre of the cluster, the brightest member at a visual magnitude of 3.6.

It was determined several decades ago that this cluster is comprised of two separate clusters seen along the same line of sight; they now go under the names 2451 A and 2451 B, with ‘B’ being twice the distance from us than is ‘A’.

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