Messier 41 at it's best in early evening

Feb 11

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2/11/2013 11:30 AM  RssIcon

The open cluster Messier 41 is a lovely sight in small telescopes, and being so close to the brightest star in the sky - Sirius - it is not hard to locate.  Start by finding Orion, which should be in the SSW sky around 8 pm or so.  Now draw a line below and to the left of Orion's "belt" stars, which will point you towards Sirius, a star even brighter than any of those in Orion.

Almost directly "below" the star is the open cluster - but you won't see it naked eye.  Depending on your local light pollution, it may be visible in binoculars, but the best views will be with a telescope.  Use a low power eyepiece, as this cluster is rather large - slightly greater in diameter than even the Full Moon.

With over a dozen stars brighter than 9th magnitude, it should display a wonderful core, and perhaps a "hazy" appearance in smaller telescopes, betraying the many dimmer stars that cannot be resolved with less aperture.  Larger telescopes will reveal a large, wonderfully rich star cluster.


M41 in Canis Major

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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.