Call at the Coma Star Cluster – Astronomy Now

The Coma Star Cluster (Melotte III). Image: Graham Wilcock.

Melotte III is a sprawling open cluster that may be noticed with the bare eye tucked away within the a ways northwest of Coma Berenices. It’s popularly named the Coma Star Cluster and gives a pleasing choice on the height of galaxy watching season. Melotte 111 is called for the English astronomer Philibert Jacques Melotte (1880–1961), who integrated it in his catalog of famous person clusters in 1915.

The Coma Star Cluster is huge and unfastened, masking a 4 to 5 levels of sky. It is a problem to pick in a reasonably light-polluted sky, taking up a fuzzy look. Magnitude +4.4 gamma (γ) Comae Berenices [Com]) is its brightest member and marks its northern extremity. Five of its fifth-magnitude stars, Flamsteed designated 12, 13, 14, 16 and 17 Com, shape a triangular trend that is smartly noticed thru 10 x 50 binoculars, most likely the most efficient device in which to look at Melotte III, as a small telescope gained ‘t display the cluster to equivalent benefit owing to restricted fields of view. There are round 40 stars shining between magnitude +5 and +10.

In past due May, Melotte III culminates earlier than dusk however stands tall, round 60 levels within the south-southwest because the sky darkens. It can also be seen during the night time.

Melotte III is tucked away within the north-west nook of Coma Berenices. AN graphic via Greg Smye-Rumsby.

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