Open Cluster Messier 41
The open star cluster M 41 was already known in ancient times as one of the «cloudy spots» in the night sky and was menteioned in 325 BC by Aritotle. In 1765 Charles Messier entered it as number 41 on his list.
About 25 bright stars and many weaker ones can be found in the cluster, which has a total of about 100 stars from 7th to 13th magnitude, which extend over an area about the size of the full moon. In the center there is a conspicuous reddish K-type star (HD 49091) with about 6.9 mag, and about 700 times brighter than our sun. Many of the other stars seem to group in curved curves, a property that is also found in M 35 and M 37. The distance to the cluster is 693 pc (2260 light years), making the cluster about 20 light years in diameter. It moves away at around 23 km/s to 26 km/s. [4, 145, 196]
The star cluster M 41 is located in the constellation Canis Major, around 4° south of the bright star Sirius. It is best visible from December to February.