M41 is lying about 4 degrees nearly exactly south of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. It contains about 100 stars, including several red (or orange) giants, the brightest being of spectral type K3 and mag 6.9, and situated near the cluster's center. This star is about 700 times more luminous than our Sun. The stars are distrubuted over a volume about 26 or 27 light years across, and all receding from us at 34 km/sec. As they are at a distance of 2,400 light years, they appear scattered over an area of 38 arc minutes diameter.
C.E. Barns mentions that M41 was "possibly" recorded by Aristotle about 325 B.C.; this would make it the "faintest object recorded in classical antiquity". (from Burnham)
|Right ascension||06 : 44.9 (hours : minutes)|
|Declination||-20 : 42 (degrees : minutes)|