Messier 36, 37, 38 (M 36, 37, 38)

Introduction | Map | Pseudo Photo (Starry Night 7) | My Own Observations | References

On this page I collect my observations of the open star clusters M 36, M 37, and M 30 in the constellation Auriga.



Auriga (with main star Capella) belongs also to the constellations that were more or less unknown to me thus far. At the core the constellation forms a hexagon if you take it exactly, but it is likely that you will perceive only a pentagon... This is a very striking pattern, but it is located very high up in February, so you have to look steeply upwards to see it. Perhaps this is a reason for my ignorance with respect to it...

In Auriga there are three more striking Messier objects, the open star clusters M 36, M 37, and M 38. They are located almost on a line, which projects from the outside into the hexagon. The exact sequence is: M 37 (outside) - M 36 Inside) - M 38 (further inside).

M 36   M 37   M 38
Size: 12' (Stoyan)
Distance: 3,300 light years (Stoyan)
Rating: *** (Stoyan)
     Size: 16' (Stoyan)
Distance: 4,500 light years (Stoyan)
Rating: *** (Stoyan)
     Size: 25' (Stoyan) - nearly moon size
Distance: 3,500 light years (Stoyan)
Rating: *** (Stoyan)



M 37, M 36, and M 38 in Auriga (large overview map)


Pseudo Photo (Starry Night 7)

Pseudo photo of M 37, M 36, and M 38 created with Starry Night 7 (large version, larger version)


My Own Observations

Observations February 2017

The visibility and rating of the three star clusters thus fluctuated quite a bit. But at least one can state that all the three star clusters were more or less well recognizable even when using a 4" telescope.

*) Whether this was due to a wrong alignment of the telescope, I do not know. In any case, it was very difficult for me to point the LED finder at these three targets because they were so high up in the sky. I therefore tried it on "good luck". Here a 90° angle finder would surely have served me well!

Observations End of March 2017



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