BinoSky - best bets for stargazing with binoculars
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M35, an open cluster in Gemini
A map of the star field. Magnitudes are given without a decimal point, e.g. 67 is to be interpreted as magnitude 6.7.

How to Find It
Go north from the final two stars of the three that form Castor's foot. The cluster lies to the west (right on the map) of the 6th magnitude star shown on the close-up map.

Philip Harrington, in Touring the Universe through Binoculars, refers to this as "one of the premier open clusters of the northern winter sky," and states that it "may even be seen with the unaided eye on crystal clear nights." Not! A lovely sight through an 8-inch telescope, this cluster strikes me as a distinctly unimpressive subject for binoculars, even under dark-sky conditions. The most prominent four members form a shape like a much-reduced Canis Major. Three of these are 8th magnitude stars, while the most southern is an unresolved triplet of dimmer stars adding up to about the same brightness. Don't bother trying to find this one from a light-polluted location unless all the other factors are in your favor -- no moon, good weather, and M35 near the meridian.

Nearby Scenery
In the same region of the sky are M36, M37, and M38 in Auriga. None of these are particularly easy to find or exceptionally pleasurable to look at through binoculars, although M36 at least looks like something other than a random part of the star field, appearing like a soft cloud of mist under dark-sky conditions.

60-degree field of view

Data (Janes, Duke, and Lynga, 1987)
RA 06 09
dec +24 20
total V magnitude 5.1
NGC number 2168
Trumpler class III 3 r
angular diameter 25'
distance 850 pc
age (Myr) 120
integrated B-V .21
observed stars 434
earliest sp. class B3
brightest star 8.0

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(c) Copyright 1998 Benjamin Crowell. All right reserved.
Photos from the Digitized Sky Survey,
Sky maps created by Your Sky,