|NGC 2281: Open Star Cluster (Auriga) RA: 06h 48.3m / DEC: +41° 04'.7|
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder
NGC 2281 is tucked away in eastern Auriga. There are few obvious and immediate jumping off points for a star-hop. You could begin the journey at 3.6 magnitude Theta (34) Geminorum, 7 degrees to the south. Or if you live under fairly dark skies, 5.0 magnitude Psi7 (58) Aurigae lies just 50' to the northeast. My drawing presents a 129X view of the cluster in my 10-inch Meade Starfinder equatorial. NGC 2281 is defined by a two stellar arms which join at one end to form a V-pattern. The 8.9 magnitude star at the base of the V is centered in my sketch. The arms extend to the north and east-northeast. A modest arc of four 9th to 11th magnitude stars reaches northward for a distance of 4 arc minutes. The second arm features four 9th and 10th magnitude sparklers arranged in a diamond or kite pattern. Another 21 member stars are scattered across the clusters 14' diameter area. With an integrated visual magnitude of 5.4, NGC 2281 is a fine sight in moderate aperture. 7.2 magnitude HD 49009 stands sentry just inside the northern edge of the field.
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Revised: January 27, 2003 [WDF]