Open Cluster in Auriga

View larger image

Star-hop chart

Messier's list contains three bright open clusters in the constellation Auriga (M36, M37, and M38).
Each of these clusters has a distinctly different appearance through a telescope. Of the three, Messier 36 has the fewest stars: About 60 stars have been identified as members of the cluster, the brightest of which are about 9th magnitude. This is a relatively young open cluster, composed mainly of blue-white stars of spectral class B.

This cluster is a nice sight through binoculars or a telescope with a low-power eyepiece.

Magnitude 6.3
Apparent Size 12'
Distance (light yrs) 4,100
Right Ascension 5:36.2
Declination +34 08

Image details:  Exposure times of 66 minutes luminance and 15 minutes each of red, green, and blue, taken with an SBIG ST-8300M imager and a 14" Meade LX850 telescope at f/6.

December 2014