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NGC 2017/HR 1944
Multiple Star System
aka HD 37643, SAO 150652, PPM 216077, HIP 26602, BD -17 01199, GC 7058, ADS 4254, CCDM 5393-1751, TYC 05921-1652 1
RA: 05h39m16.2s Dec: -1750'58" (Lepus)
Integrated Visual Magnitude: 6.4
Distance: 1300 +/- 510.0 ly

Minimum requirements to detect: any telescope under dark skies

The open cluster NGC 2017 may not really be an open cluster at all.  Nonetheless this tight grouping of stars is a pleasing sight.   The five brightest stars are quite colorful and can be viewed in any instrument.  Ron Bhanukitsiri describes the grouping in his TV-102 as, "A group of 4 stars at 30x with yellow, blue and dark orange color, quite lovely.  A 5th star popped into view at 110x." 

On closer inspection two of these stars split into close pairs.  AB is the close double BU 321, a 6.4+7.9 mag pair separated by 0.61" at PA 156o.  CD is the close double HJ 3780, a 8.5+9.2 mag pair separated by 1.4" at PA 356o.  The AB pair is usually described as blue.  I had difficulty describing the color of the CD pair, finally settling on purple-green.  Star F is invariably described as deep orange or red.

In my 18-inch F/4.5 my best view of the grouping as a whole came at 270x.  I noted a slight fuzz surrounding the group.  This fuzz did not respond to the OIII filter and I concluded that it consisted of scattered light from the bright stars.  Interestingly, a similar oval  haze can be seen in DSS images if processed extremely.  I wonder, is this scattered light too, or is there some nebulosity here?


The field in an 6-inch f/8 at 244x.  North is down and east is to the right.
Millennium Star Atlas Vol I Chart 326
Sky Atlas 2000 Chart 11
Uranometria 2000 Vol II Chart 316
Herald-Bobroff Astroatlas B-06 C-58