|M46: Open Star Cluster (Puppis) RA: 07h 41.8m / DEC: -14° 48'.6|
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder
M46 in Puppis is one of those objects I find compelling because of an association with another celestial wonder. It's an easy hop to M46 from 2 and 4 Puppis, about one degree to the east. Be careful not to be confused by neighboring M47, an open star cluster 1.3 degrees further west. M46 covers nearly half a degree of sky making it about as large as the full Moon. Lynga lists a population of 100 stars for M46. My sketch records about 50 and that second celestial wonder. NGC 2438 is a 9th magnitude planetary nebula in the northern portion of M46. This bright planetary presents an annular shape. Its bright outer ring surrounds a somewhat fainter inner section. The central star shines at a paltry 17.7 magnitudes and is not visible in moderate apertures.
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Revised: February 10, 2002 [WDF]