Open cluster M35 nicely placed at 8:00pm this week

Feb 18

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2/18/2013 3:21 PM  RssIcon

Messier 35 is a large open cluster in the constellation of Gemini.  It is about the size of the full Moon, so it will require a low power eyepiece in a telescope, or binoculars under somewhat darker skies to see well.  It is fairly easy to find.  Look between the red-giant star Betelegeuse on Orion (the upper left "shoulder" above his three prominent "belt" stars) and the two "twin" stars of Castor and Pollux that are just under 5 degrees apart above it (learn to measure distance in the sky here), nearly overhead from many northern hemisphere locations at 8pm.  

Then, at the "foot" of Gemini under Castor, look for the 2.9 and 3.3 magnitude stars Mu and Eta, respectively.  "Hop" from the brighter Mu to the slightly dimmer Eta, and then make a slight turn from there.  In binoculars, the 2,800 light years distance cluster should look like a faint "haze" and with a small telescope, some of the brighter stars should peek out at you through the eyepiece.  Let your eyes "dark adapt" if possible, or block/shield yourself from outdoor lighting to see even more of this wonderfully rich star cluster.

See Messier 35 in the sky this week

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Re: Open cluster M35 nicely placed at 8:00pm this week

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Re: Open cluster M35 nicely placed at 8:00pm this week

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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.