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M38
Open Cluster
aka NGC 1912, Melotte 36, Collinder 67, Raab 26, OCL  433
Integrated Visual Magnitude: 6.8
Apparent Diameter: 21'
Distance 4300 ly
Physical Diameter: 26 ly
Age: 155 Myr

Minimum requirements to view: binoculars and suburban skies


M38 is the northern-most of a chain of three bright open clusters in Auriga.  Each of these clusters has its own unique identity.  In the case of M38 we see a loose, irregular grouping of 10-11th magnitude stars sprinkled over a failry rich field of fainter points of light.  Of M38 Web said, "Larger stars dot it prettily with open doubles.  Glorious neighborhood."


The field in a 6-inch at 50x.  North is down and east is to the right.

Don't miss the nearby open cluster NGC 1907.  This cluster is much fainter and smaller, offering a nice study in contrast.  The integrated visual magnitude of NGC 1907 is 10.2, and it subtends a much smaller 6'.  In contrast to their appearance, these two clusters are about the same age and distance.  NGC 1907 is a bit more heavily obscured by intervening dust. 
 

Millennium Star Atlas Vol I Chart 113
Sky Atlas 2000 Chart 5
Uranometria 2000 Vol I Chart 97