Open clusters en Winter Cluster Challenge <!-- google_ad_section_start --><p><img width="140" vspace="1" hspace="4" height="192" align="right" title="M38 and NGC 1907 courtesy of the Land of Oz Observatory" alt="M38 and NGC 1907" src="/sites/" />M35 and M38 are two beautiful open clusters that are well positioned for observing during the winter months. M35 is located in western Gemini, just a few degrees north and west of &eta; Geminorum. It is a big cluster spread across an area nearly the size of the full moon. At magnitude 5.3 overall, and with nearly a hundred stars of 7<sup>th</sup> through 11<sup>th</sup> magnitude, M35 is an easy target even in heavily light polluted skies. Smaller and fainter at magnitude 7.5 overall, M38 is also a beautiful object. It consists of about a hundred stars, with the brightest ones forming a very distinctive letter &ldquo;&pi;&rdquo; that is clearly visible even with small telescopes (you can see the &ldquo;&pi;&rdquo; upside down in the photo to the right).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img width="140" vspace="1" hspace="4" height="161" align="left" title="M35 and NGC 2158 courtesy of the Land of Oz Observatory" alt="M35 and NGC 2158" src="/sites/" />While these clusters are quite beautiful and easily observed from washed-out skies, there is something that sets them apart from the other many bright open clusters visible in the winter skies: both of these have fainter clusters within the same field of view. The combination of two clusters in one field of view makes them a particularly interesting sight. Because these fainter clusters are at the edge of visibility for urban observers, they make great challenge objects when observing in washed-out skies. I have more information for those of you wanting to take up this challenge....</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Photos of M38&nbsp; (upper, with NGC 1907 at the bottom edge) and M35 (lower, with NGC 2158 at the bottom-right edge) courtesy of </em><a href=""><em>Land of Oz Observatory</em></a><em>.</em></p> <!-- google_ad_section_end --><p><a href="" target="_blank">read more</a></p> Open clusters Mon, 01 Mar 2010 01:26:25 +0000 Washed-out Astronomer 26 at