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 Constellation Guide AURIGA

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Posts : 116
Join date : 2011-08-23

PostSubject: Constellation Guide AURIGA   Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:31 pm

Auriga - the Charioteer

Pronounced 'Or - Rye - Ger' (I've also heard 'Or - Ree - Ger')

Where to find the constellation

Constellation chart

Perhaps the most attractive features of Auriga for the beginner with binoculars, or a small-medium scope, are the 3 Messier open clusters M36, M37, M38, and the 'smiley-face' asterism.

There are also quite a few other open clusters in Auriga, and a well-known reflection nebula - the Flaming Star.

Easily found, by locating Capella - one of the brightest stars in the sky, which is circumpolar (it gets low to the North, but doesn't set)
from most of USA and Europe. Look for an 'arc' of stars around Capella -see the locating chart above, to find where it is among other constellations - the consteallation of Auriga looks like a 'stretched' pentagon.

M37, 36 and 38 appear in a line - fairly equally spaced, in the lower part of the diagram above.


Is a loose open cluster of about 60 stars - middle one of the 3 messier clusters - much closer to us than the other two, so it's stars appear brighter. In fact if it were closer to us (about 1/10th distance) it would be as bright and conspicuous as the Pleiades

M37 and 38 are much bigger than M36, and contain many more stars, but are also much further away, so they appear dimmer, and more diffuse.

It is harder to resolve individual atars in these two, than in M36




Take a close look at the chart of Auriga - near M38 (to the right and below) you can make out the 'smiley-face' asterism of stars.

M38 appears in the position of maybe a 'blush' on the 'cheek' of the face.

Also, a smaller, dimmer open cluster ngc1907 is positioned just below the 'eye' nearest M38 - maybe the face has been crying with laughter, and ngc1907 is a tear???

Flaming Star nebula

IC405 as it is known in professional catalogues

Is a reflection nebula, the light comes from a star called AE Auriga, within the nebulosity - the nebula envelopes the star, giving the appearance (photographically) the the star is ablaze

The nebula is quite faint though - expect to require plenty of aperture,along with a good dark sky, and possibly a nebula filter, to see it visually.

Collinder (Cr) 62

A large open cluster with only a few members compared to the Messier clusters. It wasn't listed by Messier because it didn't appear 'fuzzy' in his telescopes (Messier was a comet-hunter, and his list of fuzzies was originally intended to avoid him confusing comets with other non-cometary objects - only fuzzy objects made his list)

The other NGC open clusters marked on the map are either faint, small, or both - some will be a real challenge to a beginner

Auriga NGCs (with magnitudes) - from my own "1200 Northern NGCs" list

For those with 'GoTo' or a good chart

1664 - OC - 7.6

1778 - OC - 7.7

1857 - OC - 7

1893 - OC - 7.5 (IC410)

1907 - OC - 8.2

1912 - OC - 6.4 (M38)

1960 - OC - 6 (M36)

2099 - OC - 5.6 (M37)

2281 - OC - 5.4
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PostSubject: Re: Constellation Guide AURIGA   Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:09 pm

wowzers thats some typing and research there
full marks mate. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy a great help
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PostSubject: Re: Constellation Guide AURIGA   Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:10 pm


There's a lot more to Auriga than just those bits I mentioned - but I'm aiming these at the beginner - so don't want to make them look too 'fussy'
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PostSubject: Re: Constellation Guide AURIGA   Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:10 pm

As a beginner, I know I appreciate it and will be printing this off so that I can use it later.

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PostSubject: Re: Constellation Guide AURIGA   Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:12 pm

thanks for the detail on Auriga. I managed to work out where Auriga was the other night, and I think (using averted vision...) That I found M36, M37 and M38 through my Bino's... Need to try and figure out where the smiley face is.
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