NGC 2362 Open Cluster in Canis Major
The attractive open cluster Caldwell 64 (NGC 2362) has always been one of my favorites. A
massive (and rare) O9-supergiant star with a swarm of hundreds of weaker suns swarming
around it. This massive sun (Tau Canis Majoris) shines 28,000-times brighter than our sun.
Tau Canis Majoris is really a multiple-star system of at least 5 members; all of which are far
fainter than the alpha-star. The next brightest member is bright enough to make Tau Canis
Majoris a pretty double-star in the telescope. In the drawing the companion star is next to the
alpha-star at 9:00 o’clock.
The cluster goes by the names “Tau Canis Majoris Cluster” or my favorite the “Northern Jewel
Box”. Just star hopping to the cluster is enjoyable as the view in the eyepiece changes while
it passes through the dense star-region of the Orion-Cygnus arm of the Milky Way. With the
Northern Jewel Box and the Winter Albireo only separated by 2 degrees, this small patch of
the sky is well worth exploring.
The Northern Jewel Box