M93 (NGC 2447) -- Open Cluster in Puppis
From my house, Open Cluster M93 is a bit low in the southern sky. I therefore, must send
the telescope into the light-polluted soup of the Washington D.C. glow to find it. Still M93
is reasonably bright and thus shines through the light-city-haze without too much damage.
To me, the cluster, due to its background of unresolved stars, takes on the shape of a
starfish. This is also how Admiral William H. Smyth saw it back in the mid-1800s.
However, the cluster does seem to fire the imagination for celestial observers and each
seems to see something different. Kenneth Glyn Jones saw a butterfly, Brian Skiff saw
trident spikes coming from the cluster’s center and, my favorite, Stephen James O’Meara
visualized a “sunlit spider resting in the center of its dew-laden web”. I tried to see the
spider, but I will just have to be satisfied with a starfish. It makes an attractive celestial-
starfish, so I do not despair.