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Star clusters in Monoceros

Little-known star groups offer gemmy views.
Harrington
This month, three of the season’s brightest stars — Betelgeuse, Sirius, and Procyon — form a large equilateral triangle that many know as the Winter Triangle. Although they blaze brightly on clear nights, they frame a surprisingly barren part of the late winter sky. Much of this vast, starless region belongs to Monoceros the Unicorn.

Although hapless Monoceros holds little to grab the attention of constellation hunters, it overflows with open star clusters for us binocularists. Yet, while many of those clusters are visible in binoculars, only one found its way into Charles Messier’s catalog. That’s our first stop this month, M50.

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