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November 11, 1996
Explanation: The great variety of star colors in this open cluster underlie it's name: The Jewel Box. The bright central star Kappa Crucis is red, in contrast to the many blue stars that surround it. The cluster contains just over 100 stars, and might be no older than 10 million years. Open clusters are younger, contain few stars, and contain a much higher fraction of blue stars than do globular clusters. This Jewel Box lies about 7500 light-years away, so the light that we see today was emitted from the clusters before even the Great Pyramids in Egypt were built.
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC