16th March 2017 No moon Just after 7pm
NGC 2362 The Porch Light Star Cluster
I found an interesting star cluster I’ve never seen before, probably because it’s so low in the sky. NGC 2362, the Porch Light, as it’s called, which is so named because it resembles moths round a light.
The star cluster is located just below Sirius (the bright star below and to the left of the constellation Orion).
There’s one bright star visible in the finder scope, which is presumably the light, and a host of smaller stars that can be seen through the main scope. Four of the brighter stars form an oblong, and midway along one of the longer sides is the bright star. About 100x magnification is best.
I also found a nice double star in the vicinity whilst I was trying to find the cluster. It’s a white and yellow combination with two stars of roughly equal brightness. They looked nice at 100x magnification. Unfortunately I can’t provide any more detail about its location because it clouded over very quickly.
Next time it’s clear early in the evening I’ll try and spot M79, a globular star cluster just under Orion. This is another object I’ve overlooked because it’s so low.