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Exploring Auriga & Gemini

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Posted (edited)

Auriga and Gemini were front and centre as i took my new (to me) Orion Eon 115 triplet for a parade across some open clusters of which there is no shortage between these two constellations. One particular and, pleasant surprise, was discovering a double which i hadn't seen before in Gemini, Wasat. Upon training the 9mm Baader Morpheus on this star i noticed a very small and tight double, the gap clearly visible. Using Stellarium i was able to confirm it as a double. Wasat seems to be a 3.5 magnitude star, i was curious as to the apparent magnitude of its close but much fainter companion but Stellarium didn't have that info or i was not paying attention. It seems to me that it is in the 6.5-8th magnitude range, regardless, it was pleasant to discover it for the first time.  Soon after, i was on the hunt for some open clusters, first of which was M37/NGC2099 which was a very pretty smattering of delicate stars, many were on the threshold of my visual acuity, i just love looking into clusters at these most delicate pinpoints at the very limit of my eyesight. From there i spent a good while finding M36/NGC1960, another beautiful sprinkle of stars, i found their colours were more easily distinguishable comparing to M37 who's stars seemed (to me) to be very uniform in colour.

Moving on through the heart of Auriga i spent another heck of a time searching for M38/NGC1912 (Starfish Cluster) which i found to be a less dense cluster than the previous two, very pleasing regardless. Soon after, i found myself searching out NGC1778 which i could not find, bummer, or maybe i had run across it and didn't know it, regardless, my eyeball was surely working overtime looking for some of these faint clusters. M35/NGC 2168 (shoe buckle cluster) was also pretty to look at, i wish it was warmer and, i was out under darker skies, my hands were getting cold, i couldn't pry myself from the eyepiece just yet. NGC 2158 was my next target, i may have been looking right at it but, it seems to be such a disperse cluster that it is difficult to identify unless one knows what they are looking for, regardless, it was a lot of fun trying.  One more before i decided to head inside was M44/NGC 2632 (Beehive Cluster) Unfortunately, my eyes could not discern Asellus Australis, nor Asellus Borealis naked eye which are key to finding the beehive, i wasn't polar aligned as Polaris was not visible from my vantage point or i would have given my setting circles a go, i was already ready to throw in the towel, fingers were numb.  It was a great time, won some and lost some but, overall it was a rewarding session, discovering a new (to me) double was the highlight of the night. My Baader Morpheus showed its value this night, the wide views were very nice and, good eye relief with no blackouts or other eyepiece shenanigans made for some great views. 

Edited by Sunshine
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