The Deepsky: Top-100

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Deepsky Top-100 (2): M35 and NGC 2158

M 35 is definitely my favourite open cluster. If you look at it through an 8-inch telescope you will see between 50 and 75 stars (depending on the quality of your observing site) distributed over an area of 30’, the same area that is covered by a full moon. There are more than 20 stars with a magnitude ranging from 7.5 to 10. M35 is an irregular cluster and the centre seems to be empty. There are many chains of stars and small groups and pairs of stars.

M35

This sketch was made with my 8 inch Klevtzov-Cassegrain, using a 20mm Vixen Lanthanum eyepiece. The magnification is 100x and the field of view is about 29’. North is up, west is to the left. For more details go to the log entry in the deepsky section.

M 35 is very easy to locate. In the constellation Gemini, locate Mu Geminorum. From there go two degrees to the west. There you will find Eta Geminorum. M35 lies 2.5 degrees northwest of Eta. You will immediately see a fuzzy patch of light in your finder scope.


M435

Gemini with limiting magnitude 6.5. Circle around M35 represents a field of view of 4 degrees.
Credit and copyright SkyTools 2 by Capellasoft



Click here to download a printable finder chart (PDF)

When you are studying M35 with your telescope, try to detect a faint patch of light, just 30’ southwest of it. Try averted vision. This is NGC 2158, another open cluster. The fascinating thing is that NGC 2158 is almost 5 times more distant than M35. While M35 lies at a distance of 2.800 light years, NGC 2135 lies at 13.000 light years, near the rim of the galaxy. It is one of the most remote open clusters you can observe. Think about that when observing this couple. In my 8-inch, in my light polluted backyard, I only could see an unresolved patch of light. On a dark sky site I managed to resolve a few stars. This is definitely a very difficult target for urban and suburban observers, using small or moderate aperture telescopes.

M35

Eyepiece impression of M35 and NGC 2158 (stars up to magnitude 12.5) North is up, east is to the left.
Credit and copyright SkyTools 2 by Capellasoft




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