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The 37 Cluster and the ET/Owl Cluster


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Just thought I would highlight these two fun clusters to any new starters looking for targets. They are long standing favourites of mine; I think Shane introduced me to the 37 at probably the first Peak Star Party we attended, and another member showed me the Owl or ET Cluster a long time ago!

The 37 Cluster, or NGC2169 is well positioned currently, riding high above Orion. It is relatively easy to find, near Orion's wrist. Find Betelgeuse, and head up towards Mu Orionis (mag 4.1), then up to Xi and Nu Orionis (mag 4.5 and 4.4 respectively). NGC2169 forms the point of a downward facing triangle below these two stars.

To see the 37 needs a bit of power, and a little aperture certainly helps. My OMC140 showed it more clearly than the 4" Tak. Obviously it will either be backwards or upside down depending upon your scope type. One nice additional thing to look for is the tiny double which is at the top right corner (correct image) of the 3. This is visible in a 4".


Not to be confused with the Owl Nebula, the Owl, or ET Cluster is NGC457. This one makes me smile everytime I see it, it will always be the ET Cluster to me, but see what you think. It basically has two brighter stars (mag 5 and 7) for eyes, then a series of fainter stars which make up a kind of stick man with arms, a body and stumpy legs (imagination required :) )

It is easy to find, in Cassiopeia you just extend a line from Segin through Ruchbah to form a right angled with a line from kappa Cass through Navi. NGC457 is at the right angle.

There are loads of open clusters in Cassiopeia but this one is my favourite.

So, have a look for them both and let me know what you think!!









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We were looking at the 37 cluster last night, I think it's great, but it was a bit too light polluted to fully make it out. I'd seen it before, so I new what I was looking for, but a couple of others could only make out the 7.

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Love seeing 457, but didn't know about 2169, so thanks for the tip off. I'll take a look when we next get clear skies.

2301 worth a look, an easy find in Monoceros, we ought to compile an "SGL Treasures" list perhaps?



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  • 2 weeks later...

Why do people keep calling it the ET cluster? Just look at it! It's an Owl!!!! It was an Owl long before ET made an appearance. ??.

Great thread Stu.

Some of the cluster/asterism names are a bit tenuous. But these two actually look as you might expect,

The Owl/ET cluster is one of my favourites. Check out my avatar!

The Christmas Tree cluster is worth a go too.



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  • 4 weeks later...

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