Credits: Keith Turnecliff, Nerja, Spain
The cluster lies at a distance of 1,600 light years from Earth and has an apparent magnitude of 4.2. It has the designation NGC 2422 in the New General Catalogue.
Messier 47 occupies an area of 30 arc minutes of apparent sky, corresponding to a linear diameter of 12 light years. The cluster’s apparent size is roughly the same as that of the full Moon. Its estimated age is 78 million years. The cluster is visible to the naked eye in dark, clear skies and appears as a hazy patch of nebulosity.
Facts about M47 by Keith Turnecliff
The cluster is easily resolved in 10×50 binoculars, which reveal its brightest stars.
Larger binoculars and small telescopes show many dimmer stars in M47,
while 6-inch telescopes reveal a loose cluster with many bright and faint stars spread across an area 30 arc minutes in diameter.
Messier 47 contains about 50 members, which makes it one of the least densely populated open clusters known. The cluster contains many luminous blue stars and a few older red giants.