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Calendar of astronomy, February sky

Auriga constellation

 Automatic translationAutomatic translation Category: children
Updated January 21, 2013

The orientation in the winter sky is facilitated by the figure called the Hexagon Winter, whose vertices are the star Capella, Aldebaran, Rigel, Sirius, Procyon and Castor and Pollux. North of Orion and Perseus is, shines one of the brightest stars of the winter sky: Auriga Capella (α Aur) of magnitude 0.10 located to 42.20 AL. The constellation Auriga is a constellation very extensive having a characteristic shape of the Pentagon.
As its main star, Capella, also known as the Goat is a giant with a binary (double star).
In the constellation Auriga there are many open clusters (star cluster grouping about 100 to 1000 stars of the same age linked together by gravity), such as M36, M37 and M38. Other stars of the constellation Auriga are on the left shoulder of Auriga, Menkalinan (β Aur magnitude 1.92 to 82.11 AL), on the right shoulder (θ Aur magnitude from 2.67 to 173, 21 AL), on the left knee of Auriga (ι Aur magnitude 3.71 to 787.83 AL) on the belly of the animal (ζ Aur magnitude 3.71 to 787.83 AL).


nota: A constellation is a group of stars that sufficiently close to the celestial vault are gave the appearance of an imaginary figure drawn in the sky.

nota: By convention, the names of the stars in a constellation are prefixed by a Greek letter followed by the first 3 letters of the constellation, for example:
α  Ori, β Ori,... (Greek letters: α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ ς σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω).

nota: M is the mark of the Messier catalog, a catalog of astronomical objects look like diffuse nebulae or galaxies.

nota: a light year is exactly 9 460 895 288 762 850 meters.

Image: Constellation Auriga draw a pentagon that represents a man carrying a goat on his back and two or three kids. The constellation is marked by its brightest star, Capella. Image reworked from the Open Source software Stellarium.

 Constellation du Cocher

Star cluster M38


The open cluster M38 can be seen with binoculars toward the constellation Auriga.
The star cluster M38 is a rich cluster of stars, each of which is about 200 million years ago.
Located in the disk of our galaxy, the Milky Way, M38 is still too young to harbor bright blue stars, although the brightest star is a yellow giant of magnitude 7.9 that shines 900 times more than our Sun.
This star cluster spans about 25 light years and lies about 4200 light-years from our Sun.
In the photo below cons, M38 is only about 2.5 degrees northwest of the open cluster M36.
Loosely linked by gravity, open clusters stretch over time and their stars escape slowly from the center of the Galaxy.
Discovered by Giovanni Batista Hodierna before 1654, Messier 38 (M38, NGC 1912) is one of the three open clusters in the southern part of the constellation Auriga. Charles Messier included it in his catalog September 25, 1764. Its brightest stars form a pattern that resembles the Greek letter Pi, or an "oblique cross".


nota: A star cluster is a small group of stars present in the disk of our Galaxy or in the other galaxies. These sets usually contain stellar hundreds or thousands of stars linked by gravitation and orbit around a common center of mass. There could be some 100 000 open clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy. These stars are concentrated in a relatively small area (a few hundred light-years in diameter), and were born during a period of 100 million years. Star clusters gradually lose their stars at various gravitational perturbations due to giant clouds of matter or tidal effects.

nota: M is the mark of the Messier catalog, a catalog of astronomical objects look like diffuse nebulae or galaxies.

nota: NGC (New General Catalogue) is one of the most popular catalogs in the field of astronomy with the Messier catalog.

Image: Star cluster M38 Credit & Copyright: NOAO, AURA, NSF

 Star cluster  M38 et M36
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