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Gamma Comae Berenices

The red giant Gamma Com is the brightest star of the open cluster Melotte 111. This cluster, which is visible to the naked eye, probably gave the constellation its name, Berenice's Hair. The small stellar cluster contains only 37 stars, which are all bigger than the Sun and which all move to the same direction. Apparently the cluster has lost its smaller stars.

Constellation: Coma Berenices
Age: 450 million years
Distance: 288 light-years
Spectral class: K1
Visual magnitude: 4.3

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05/09/2008

    Melotte 111
Melotte 111, the bright star to the upper left is Gamma Com.
Photo: Observatory Kempten

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