NGC 2311 -- Open Cluster in Monoceros
A Puff of Scintillating Unicorn Light
Of all the Unicorn’s Open Cluster targets for the night of February 14, 2020, NGC 2311 was
the most difficult to observe from my suburban backyard with the 155mm refractor. Had I
not known its exact location; I would not have found it. Stephen James O’Meara’s
description of NGC 2311 as observed with a 101mm refractor from a darker site than mine
wrote, “… the cluster is a small puff of faint light that scintillates with tiny bits of starlight…”.
His description describes perfectly what I was seeing with a slightly larger refractor (155mm)
under a more light-polluted sky. This is, for sure, one of the Herschel 400 Open Clusters that
is best enjoyed in larger telescopes, but I still enjoyed watching the cluster's faint starlight
wink in and out of existence through my telescope.