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  1. Thwarted by cloud at my dark sky spot in Northumberland, to make the most of the clear spells rather than the promise of clear skies, plans to explore through Hydra to reacquaint with the planetary 'The Ghost of Jupiter' and' The Spindle Galaxy' in Sextans were abandoned. Instead, parts of Orion, Auriga and Gemini were looking good. Further west Venus and the Pleiades made a good start and finder alignment to the evening. Coupled near to M38 in Auriga is NGC 1907, a compact small dense haze, omitted by Messier, but quite easy to regard in fairly small aperture. The complementary nature of the dazzling M38 and its small hazy companion is very pleasing to the eye. A classic companion open cluster is NGC 2158 associated near to M35 in Gemini. The subtlety of this small faint open cluster near to the quite flamboyant M35 is captivating in contrast. NGC 2158 is nearly five times further in distance than its companion, almost 16,000 light years and it is nearly ten times older. Another encounter, this time a more lonesome open cluster in Orion is NGC 2194, subtle, small and hazy. Prevailing cloud, cold (and falling asleep for a time in the car) I settled for a dazzling view of the Beehive cluster before deciding to quit. Faint open clusters and companion clusters, they are so bountiful, please share your own favourites and encounters. It was good to be - back out
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