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Lacaille II.9 (7,169 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Southern Pleiades

Lacaille II.9, IC 2602, Cl Collinder 229, Cl Melotte 102, Cl VDBH 103, C 1041-641, Ocl 838.0, COCD 259, Caldwell 102, theta Carinae Cluster, Southern Pleiades

RA: 10h 43m 12s
Dec: −64° 24′ 0″

Con: Carina
Ch: MSA:1004, U2:449, SA:25

Ref: SIMBAD, DAML02, Archinal&Hynes (2003)

(reference key)

Type: open cluster, 13r

Mag: B=?, V=?

Size: 100′
PA: ?

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Sketches  (3)

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Photos  (2)

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History and Accurate Positions for the NGC/IC Objects (Corwin 2004)

IC 2602. See IC 4651.

Historical observations


This cluster was discovered by Lacaille and included in his 1755 catalogue as Class II No. 9. In his half-an-inch 8x telescope he described it as "Theta Argus, 3rd magnitude at least, surrounded by many 6/7/8 mag like the Pleiades."

Published comments

Bailey, S.I. A catalogue of bright stars and nebulae

"cluster, coarse, including theta Carinae"

Bailey, S.I. (19xx) A catalogue of bright stars and nebulae. Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs., 60(8), 199.

Melotte, P.J. (1915)

A catalogue of star clusters shown on Franklin-Adams chart plates. Mem.R.A.S., 60(5), 175-186.

Mel 102: A group of bright stars around theta Car. Noted by Bailey.

Raab, S. (1922) "A research on open clusters"

Discussed, based of F-A plates.


Trumpler (Lick Obs Bul, Vol 14, No. 420) gives the diameter as 65' and the class as 2 3 m.


Sher, D. () "Structure of the Milky Way in Carina" QJRAS, v 6, p 299-320. "a poor clustering of stars around Theta Carinae, some 5degrees south of the galactic equator. ... is by far the nearest of the young clusters in the region [0.16 kpc]"

Hogg, A. R. (1965)

"Cat. of Open Cl. south of -45� Decl.", Mem. 17 Mnt Stromlo Obs.

Doig, P. (1926)

"A Catalogue of Estimated Parallaxes of 112 Nebulae, Open clusters and Star Groups", Vol 36 (4), p 107-115.

"The remarkable segregation of the open cluster brighter stars into two groups, the one of A type, and the other of stars redder than about F8, is shown in the figure, which is for Melotte 102, a cluster around Theta Carinae." In the catalogue he describes it as a "circular group around Theta Carinae." He gives the approx. diameter as 75 arcmin.


Burnham calls this cluster " a very very large, bright scattered group, 70' across, containing 30 stars brighter than 9th magnitude and an intermediate number of fainter members. Of the bright stars, 23 have spectral types of B and A; the remainder range from F0 to K5. The entire group is more than a degree in diameter, requiring wide-angle low power telescopes." The central star, Theta Carinae, is a magnitude 2.7 O9 main-sequence star, about 700 light years away.

Whiteoak, J. B. (1961)

Whiteoak, J. B. (1961) "A Study of the Galactic Cluster IC 2602". M.N.R.A.S., 123, 3, 245-256.

"Summary: The results are presented of photoelectic and spectrogaphic study of the galactic cluster IC 2602. In the investigation, observations of 29 probable and 40 possible members yield a distance of 155 parsecs and cluster age of 10 x 10E7 years. It is a poorly-populated cluster and its luminosity function shows a deficiency in the number of stars of spectral type F compared with that predicted by the Initial Luminosity Function. It is suggested that the star-group is a local condensation of the Scorpio-Centaurus association.

"Introduction: The galactic cluster IC 2602 (Melotte 102( is an open group of sdtars distributed about the B0 star Theta Carina. The brihgtest members are in a group 1.5 degrees in diameter centred at a=10h 42m, d = -64� (1950). The cluster is shown in plate 7: a 3-min exposure in visual light taken with the 20/26 inch Schmidt telescope of the Uppsala Southern Station."

In the photoelectric catalogue of stars they produced, V values ranged between 2.78 -- 10.70 and B-V values -0.23 -- +1.58.


Sanford notes that the cluster somewhat resembles M7 in Scorpius in size and shape. The cluster is a member of the Scorpius-Centaurus Association.

Modern observations

ASV Journal

ASV Journal Vol 24 No 3 June 1971: "Contains 'Five of Diamonds'." This is a very fitting name for the eastern bowtie shape.

Brian Skiff

eye - vbr obj comparable to Pleiades (which was low in the northwest during this

observation), but latter has more naked-eye *s. the North wins for once!

BS, 18Feb1990, LCO.

15cm - ignoring general bkgrnd of Milky Way, 50 brtr *s (V < 10) @ 30x in 2 deg

fld, which pretty well contains members. boundary uncer due to two other

oc's on periphery and steep gradient of Milky Way *s N to S. one * on W

(R152 [1038.9]) is just res @ 80x; 195x gives pa20, dm 1.5. BS,

18Feb1990, LCO.

Ed Finlay (ASSA)

ASSA DSOS: Ed Finaly, observing with a Meade 4-inch ED APO refractor from Johannesburg, 1993 May 31, notes "the eastern 'bowtie' quite striking."

Contemporary observations

Auke Slotegraaf

A 10-inch f/5 shows this really splendid grouping of stars very nicely in a 1 degree field; there are 17 bright members and many more fainter stars scattered around the field. The cluster has always appeared to me to consist of two parts; an eastern group of 5 stars forming a bowtie (Orion?) shape, and the western part, dominated by Theta, having a general curved shape. The distinction between the two parts is very clear, being separated by an almost starless band, containing only three or four 10th mag stars. Melotte 101 just south presents a striking contrast.

Magda Streicher

2006 July 29

Alldays (22.50S, 20.12E, 770m).

12-inch f/10 SCT (76x)

Conditions: Good

The southern Pleiades, IC 2602, are 5' south of the Carina Nebula. It is a whopping 50+' wide with a total visual magnitude of 1.9. Theta Carina lies in the middle of the cluster, which has an appearance similar to that of the Pleiades with the deep blue Theta (2.7 magnitude) similarly placed to that of Alcyone. Consist of about 20 beautiful bright blue-ish suns, with a faint string of stars runs along with the brighter stars. The area to the SW looks busier with faint members.

Chris Vermeulen

2006/3/25, 19h00-22h00

Ngwenya Lodge

Sky Conditions: Poor: Cloudy

Quality of Observation: Moderate

6" Dobsonian, 25mm & 10mm Eyepieces (48x & 120X magnification respectively)

IC2602 is a cluster of stars that is rather amazing. A petit little cluster in Carina shares the skies with some of the most amazing objects, yet in its own right stands out as a true treasure within the constellation of Carina. Although it is situated in a very star rich area of the sky, its relative close grouping distinguishes it from the other stars and makes it stand out very clearly.

Gary Lillis

2007 June 03, 19:03 SAST

Walmer, Port Elizabeth

2.5-inch f/7.6 refractor (EP: 25mm 28x 45arcmin fov)

Conditions: Clear, stable.

Southern Pleiades Cluster. Size=50arcmin, V=1.9 very bright. Very bright and noticeable, 5 stars resolvable in 8x21 binoculars. 'Five of Diamonds' very east to locate, 22 stars are easily visible in the 25mm eyepiece. Similar cluster to M45. IC 2602 is also visible with the naked eye, as a faint unresolvable blurry patch. IC 2602 has a bright orange central star, theta Carinae M3.0 surrounded by generally equally spaced stars M3.2-M6.5. Cluster also consists of some nice coarse stars M8.0-M9.0 at intermittent intervals throughout the cluster, brightness of cluster is noticeable varied, with large dark gaps between stars on average of 10arcminutes. Not many field stars nearby. Two field stars NW 8arcmin M6.5 and a dimmer M7.0.

Richard Ford

2011 February 5th, Saturday


Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.

Eyepieces:26mm Super Wide Field Eyepiece.

20mm Ultra Wide Angle Eyepiece.

Sky Conditions:Dark moon and stars magnitude 6 and fainter are barely visible with the naked eye.

Transparency of the Sky:The most clear sky possible.

Seeing:Excellent clean sky,limited star flickering and brilliant objects.

Limiting Magnitude:6.5.

Object Type:Open Cluster.

First Impression:This object looks like an open cluster.



Chart Number:No.16(Extract taken out of "Atlas of the Night Sky").

Size:26mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:57'/1=57'.

20mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:50'/1=50'.



Size in Arc Minutes:53.5'.


Major Axis:53.5'


Minor Axis:17.8'.

Open Cluster is 53.5'*17.8'.

Brightness:Magnitude 1.9.

Brightness Profile:All over this cluster it is evenly bright while towards the central outskirts it grows brighter.

Challenge Rating:Fantastic Sight.



The stars in this open cluster are not separated.In overall I have counted 12 stars in this cluster.By observing this cluster I have found nebulosity around the bright stars.Most of the stars in this open cluster are nearly the same brightness as each other.In this cluster the stars are not at all concentrated towards each other.

Pierre de Villiers

2016 February 05, Friday

Location: Bonnievale SSP

Striking open cluster with clearly discernable "M" and "Scales of Justice" above Southern Pleiades. m ~ 2.0. Size 100-arcmin.

Favourite lists

Lacaille's catalogue

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Dunlop's catalogue

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The Caldwell list

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