Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 43

Facing
15

CANIS

1

MINOR

2251

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Cr 111

bi n

Cr 106

w

2252

r vie

Cr 97

u la

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Cr 107
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ORION

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MONOCEROS

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Jan 5

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T O R
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Jan 2

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Facing West

a

S

S

A Cluster of Clusters

DEL

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Binocular Highlight by Mathew Wedel

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61

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F

WHEN TO
USE THE MAP

Late Nov
Early Dec
Late Dec
Early Jan
Late Jan

11 p.m.
10 p.m.
9 p.m.
8 p.m.
Dusk

These are standard times.

I

n the 1960 TV series, Daniel Boone describes a
buffalo "so big, I had to look three times to see
all of it." There are starfields like that, too, those so
expansive or complex that they can't be taken in
all at once. One of my favorites is the area around
open cluster NGC 2244 in the northwest corner of
Monoceros, the Unicorn.
This field is a little over 10°° south of Gamma
(γ) Geminorum, inside a triangle formed by 13
Monocerotis, 18 Mon, and Epsilon (ε) Mon. It includes
the Rosette Nebula, but I'm not going to say much
about that this time. Under dark skies, and with big
binos, it can be a spectacular sight - but not from
my driveway with 50 mm of aperture.
Instead I see a field positively spangled with open
clusters. In addition to NGC 2244, three Collinder
clusters are easy catches in the same area: Cr 97
lies 1°° north of NGC 2244; Cr 107 stands 1.5°° east;
and Cr 106 completes the rectangle. All four are big
and bright, between 4th and 6th magnitude. Several
smaller, 7th-magnitude clusters are in the same 5°°
field of view: NGC 2252 in the middle of the rectangle,
Cr 111 to the northeast, and Cr 96 to the southwest.
You'll need very sharp eyes to pick any of those little
clusters out as separate objects, but they contribute to the richness of the area. And as if that wasn't
enough, most of these clusters are embedded in the
Monoceros OB 2 association, a cloud of bright, young
stars that extends for several degrees in all directions.
I know it's asking a lot on these cool winter evenings, but dress warm, settle in, and spend some
time with this field. You may need to look a few times
to see it all.

¢ MATT WEDEL likes to kick back with his binoculars on a driveway in Claremont, California.
s k y a n d t e l e s c o p e .c o m

* JANUARY 2017

43


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Sky and Telescope - January 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky and Telescope - January 2017

Contents
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Cover1
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Cover2
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 1
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Contents
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 3
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Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Cover3
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - Cover4
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17RAL
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 90
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17R
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17RA
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17EAL
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - 94
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Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17S
Sky and Telescope - January 2017 - SGA17SA
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