M 38 & NGC 1907 -- Open Clusters in Auriga
“Silver Crucifix Studded with Jewels”
The open cluster M38 in the constellation Auriga is usually compared to a collection of stars
shaped like a cross.  The quote above is from Stephen O’Meara’s book “The Messier
Objects”.  The smaller open cluster (NGC 1907), in the drawing, is about the same distance
from Earth as M38, but contains only about a third the number of stars.  The best information
indicates that the two clusters are moving past each other and are currently separated by
1,200 light years.  It has always intrigued me that both M38 and NGC 1907 are shining
through a large interstellar cloud that muffles their brightness.  I wonder what they would look
like if they could be seen without the foreground cloud.  Never-the-less they form a unique
pair of objects in the telescope.