Messier 46 is an open cluster residing in the constellation Puppis. It consists of ~500 stars, is thought to be ~300 million years old and 5,500 light-years distant.
Just above the center of the image lies the planetary nebula NGC2438. It appears to be a part of the cluster, however appearances can be deceiving. NGC2438 is actually much closer at only 3,000 light-years. It also doesn't share the same velocity of the stars within M46.
For a zoom-able high resolution image of M46 and other Messier objects please visit the Owl Mountain Observatory Messier catalog at: