Here’s an easy to find and glorious sight. Having finished exploring the overlooked M44 (Praesepe) cluster , scan over to Tegmine (Zeta Cancri) SAO 97645. It’s halfway between Pollux and beta Cancri.
Classically described as a multiple , it’ll open out to give a great triple star. It’s closed down to 1.1″ separation , but the brightness of these lemon yellows gives smaller apertures a chance of opening it up. Comparable to beta Monocerotis, it’s always fun to point out a bright star , then increase magnification to open it up.
Exploring Cancer for similar challenges, I’d check out 57 Cancri , a light orange pair , splitting open 1.5″.
Σ1187 , another orange pair opens up at 3.0″. I can’t leave Cancer without looking at iota Cancri . This wide pair is so colourful that it is a contender for “winter Albireo”. The colours were stunning last trip , better than the other “Albireo” in Canis Major ( h3945) SAO 173349. Although I was seriously diverted by “Hind’s Crimson star ” in Lepus and “La Superba” in Canes Venatici.
A closer look at M44 will show you a few binaries in the buzz of this cluster, these include SLe337,336,332, Σ1249 and Σ1254. My skies can be poor , but most clear nights the buzz of M44 is spottable by eye from the top of Gemini.
As we’re heading off there , don’t forget our most distant Milky Way target , way out of our halo. The faint globular ” intergalactic wanderer” , NGC 2419. It’ll appear as a faint fuzz without easily resolvable stars. It is 300,000 light years from here and the galactic centre, twice the distance of the large Magellenic clouds . I think this is a thrilling sight , quite bright , look for the fish hook of bright stars and head off eastwards. This was with a 4″ Vixen refractor .
Hoping for clear skies ! Nick.