|NGC 2169: Open Star Cluster (Orion) RA: 06h 08.4m / DEC: +13° 57'.9|
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder
For years, I thought of open clusters as deadly dull objects to be avoided at any cost. However, my pursuit of the Herschel 400 has exposed me to some really nice clusters. One aspect I've come to appreciate in particular is the unique appearance of each cluster. They're like snowflakes in that no two are exactly alike. NGC 2169 in Orion is not going to make anybody's "top ten" list of open star clusters. But it's a nice little object. A 129X view in my 10-inch Newtonian is presented in the sketch to the left. The cluster is positioned slightly east of center. The brightest members form a triangle asterism. These include several 6th, 7th and 8th magnitude sparklers scattered across a 6' diameter area. One interesting side note is that some amateurs have nicknamed this object the "37 cluster" because of its resemblance to that number. I don't see it, but that's visual astronomy for you. Twenty-five stars dot the field and provide context. 4.5 magnitude Xi (70) Orionis shines 53' to the west.
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Revised: January 20, 2003 [WDF]