NGC1662 & 2169 in Orion

Orion is the home of two of my favorite wintertime open clusters. With Orion setting in the western sky early in the evening now, I have been scrambling to see these clusters for the last time this winter. The first is NGC 1662, The Klingon Battle Cruiser cluster. If you, like me, were a fan of the original Star Trek TV series, then you remember how the Klingon Battle Cruiser looked. Sue French in her February 2005 Deep-Sky Wonders column has a picture of the battle cruiser superimposed on this sparse cluster, and the stars definitely look like the running lights on the cruiser. I have never seen this cluster as anything else since.  Even in my light polluted skies, I see in town a good dozen stars with my 4-inch TV102 refractor. Check it out if you haven’t yet.

The second cluster is the Thirty-Seven Cluster, NGC 2169. This is a wonderful little cluster, whose stars are divided into two groups of stars. From home in my light polluted skies, using a C-6 or a 6-inch SCT, I see 11 stars in the southeastern group and 7 stars in the northwestern group. All of these stars can be seen within an area about 6 arc minutes in diameter. These stars look like a mirror reversed 37 in my scope at a magnification of 150x. Here is a sketch I prepared last week of this cluster. 


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