As two naked-eye open clusters within one small field of view within southeastern Scorpius, Messier 6 (above) and even-brighter Messier 7 (below) present a special treat. Unlike the Double Cluster in Perseus, however, the two are completely unrelated, lying more or less just along the same line of sight. Messier 7 (1.3 degrees and nearly 25 light years across) lies 975 light years away, while Messier 6 (a quarter degree and 7 light years across) is farther, 1600 light years away. M 7, with an age of 300 million years is, however, three times as old as M 6. While seven stars in M 7 are visible to the naked eye, none has a name other than a catalogue number. The brightest star within the confines of M 6 is a variable class K giant, BM Sco. Just down and to the left of M 6 is a much fainter cluster, NGC 6416, which lies 2400 light years away. The bright star at lower right is third magnitude G Scorpii.

To see a labelled image, push the star:

See M 35 in context along with 17 other clusters near the Galaxy's anticenter.

Return to the Cluster Page.

By Jim Kaler. Return to STARS.