NGC 2539 -- Open Cluster in Puppis
Where the Ship’s Stern meets the Water Snake & Unicorn
In the far northeastern corner of the constellation Puppis (The Ship’s Stern) where it meets
Hydra (The Female Water Snake) and Monoceros (The Unicorn), resides an open cluster
(NGC 2539) with a dominate apparent triplet-star (19 Puppis). It should be noted that Puppis
is a huge constellation and most of the sky that it covers is too far south of Maryland to observe.
But NGC 2539 and 19 Puppis are further north than Sirius in the night sky and are very doable
from where I live.
When viewing NGC 2539, at magnification of 59x, 19 Puppis is by far the brightest star in the
field-of-view. It appears to me as pale-yellow. The closer of the two companion stars is white
and the further one a light-blue. It makes a nice apparent trio of stars.
The cluster itself, through the 110mm refractor is faintly shrouded in mist, created from the
stars below the resolution of the small refractor. All in all, this is a pleasing collection of stars.