NGC2362 - The Tau Canis Majoris Cluster Brilliant Open Cluster in Canis Major

Uploaded 3/20/11

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 I consider this one of the most spectacular star clusters in the entire sky. Located just east of the southern most stars in the constellation, this isolated object lies in a very rich field of faint stars. Two points of interest make this cluster so stunning both visually and photographically. First, is the brilliant 4.4 magnitude star located in the clusters center creating a huge beacon of light to guide you to this small object. Next, the highly condensed nature of NGC2362 and all the matched blue stars seeming to swarm around the central stellar hub. In large amateur telescopes this object is amazing visually in a medium magnification Nagler eyepiece. In my 12.5" the best view was with the 13mm Nagler.

The cluster spans 6 arc minutes in size, small for this 2.5 degree field here. But combined with its brilliant central star, this cluster tops out at a whopping 3.8th magnitude! It can be easily seen naked eye, but not resolved of course. Megastar lists 60 cluster members known.

Optics: 8" f/4 Newtonian Astrograph w/Baader MPCC Coma Corrector Platform: Homemade GEM w/Byers Starmaster Drive Camera: Hutech Modified Canon XTi @ ISO800 Exposure: 3 x 5m Location: Happy Jack, Arizona Elevation: 6800 ft. Sky: Seeing 8/10, Transparency 8/10 First Quarter Moon Outside Temperature: 35F Processing Tools: Photoshop CS2, Images Plus 3.82 HOME GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS