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"Top ten" list of open clusters

Started by Inge_S, 09/27/2002 06:06AM
Posted 09/27/2002 06:06AM Opening Post
I enjoy observing open clusters. They come in so many sizes, magnitudes and shapes, and many of them contain both blue-white and orange or red stars. I have my own "top ten" list of open clusters which I find particularly appealing in my 8-inch scope. Owners of scopes with different aperture may have other favourites. My list is also restricted by my high latitude. I have not included objects which can not be seen reasonably well from here.

So here is my list (random order):

NGC6791,Lyra: Only hint of resolution in 8-inch
M67, Cancer: Great swarm of stars
NGC7789,Cassiopeia: Beautiful, rich and large cluster
M11, Scutum: In "difficult" part of the sky
M37, Auriga: Best winter cluster
M46, Puppis: Beautiful, but a bit far south
h & Xi Persei: Double cluster. Large but impressive
NGC188, Cepheus: Faint but very rich
NGC2158, Gemini: Only hint of resolution. Compressed
NGC2420, Gemini: Stands out well. Pretty rich

As you may see I have a preference for highly populous clusters. But I also enjoy more scattered groups if they stand out well against the sky background (e.g. NGC 1502)or clusters containing orange or red stars (e.g. M41)

Other observers' favourites? What about astronomer living "down under"? I know that there are a few gems out of range for me.
Posted 09/27/2002 12:18PM #1

Here's my "top ten" list of favorite open clusters:

1. NGC 3532 (the best open cluster in the sky, see )
2. M24 (even if it isn't a true open cluster)
3. NGC 7789
4. NGC 2477
5. NGC 869 & NGC 884 (the Double Cluster)
6. NGC 2362
7. M11
8. M46
9. NGC 6231

Other noteworthy open clusters include M6, M7, M35, M36, M38, M44, M45, M47, M50, M67, M93, NGC 188, NGC 225, NGC 457 (the Owl or E.T. Cluster), NGC 663, NGC 1502, NGC 1528, NGC 1907, NGC 2158, NGC 2169 (the "37" Cluster), NGC 2264, NGC 2360, NGC 2539, NGC 4755 (the Jewel Box), NGC 6802, NGC 6939, and Stock 2.

Dave Mitsky

Chance favors the prepared mind.

De gustibus non est disputandum.
Posted 09/27/2002 12:32PM #2
M7 has always been a favorite of mine, partially because of the way it stands out, and partially because it's the first DSO I found by 'accident', right after I got my first little 60mm refractor. There's nothing like just sweeping across the sky and having this glorious view pop up unexpectedly.
Posted 09/27/2002 02:45PM #3
Several of my favorites are included in your list. I do all my viewing with a 5"SCT, 6" CR150, and a 80mm widefield

7789 Cas, on moonless nights outstanding
M11 Scutum best with a little higher power to see deep
M37 Auriga like glitter sprinkled across the sky
M46 Puppis, only recently found the planetary
869/884 Per, the Double cluster, spectacular wide field

To those I would add:

6940 Vul, like 7789 best on moonless nights
IC4756 Ser, a massive cluster great in binoculars
2264 Mon, spend time here to split out 8 components of s Mon spread over 5'.
M45 Tau, Pleiades, never tire of looking at this one.
457 Cas, the Owl, if larger it would be a constellation

Attached Image:

EdZ's attachment for post 62741
Posted 09/27/2002 07:57PM #4
Clearly I'm located on the wrong place on the earth. For me it is very difficult to observe anything below - 15 degrees. In fact M46 is very near my practical limit of observation - when the sky is clear I see the foreground planetary though. M7 does not rise above the horizon, not to speak about clusters in Carina and Crux. Nevertheless, the clusters on "my" list are very pleasing to observe. BTW we have a couple of objects the southerners may envy us. The Veil nebula complex, and some very fine galaxies (M81, M82, NGC2403) and a few pretty planetaries. I suppose the Veil is visible from Australia, but it will definitely not get high in the sky.

I can't help having a dream of taking my Portaball for a week's trip to some southern location. But perhaps I'll get spoiled.
Posted 09/27/2002 08:13PM #5
I've got to add M8 with NGC6530. The combination of the nebula and the open cluster elicts a Wow. The NSOG gives it 5 Stars.