Possibly discovered by G.D. Cassini before 1711. Discovered independently by Charles Messier in 1772.
M50 is an open cluster of stars in the constellation Monoceros. Its estimated population is approximately 200 stars and lies at a distance of about 3,200 light years from the Earth. The main body of the cluster is about 10 light years across, but the outlying stars extend another 10 light years. Its colorful Red and Yellow Giant stars along with its more numerous hot blue stars makes this collection of celestial jewels a beautiful sight in a telescope’s eyepiece as well as in a CCD image. Click here to view a cropped, close-up, view of the cluster.