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NGC 1912 (3,665 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Starfish Cluster

NGC 1912, Cl Collinder 67, C 0525+358, Ocl 433.0, COCD 71, Messier 38, Starfish Cluster, GC 1119

RA: 05h 28m 43s
Dec: +35° 51′ 18″

Con: Auriga
Ch: MSA:113, U2:97, SA:5

Ref: SIMBAD, Collinder (1931), DAML02, Archinal&Hynes (2003)

(reference key)

Type: open cluster, 22r

Mag: B=6.69, V=6.4

Size: 20′
PA: ?

Image gallery

Photos  (1)

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Historical observations

William Herschel (c.1784)

In the Appendix to the 1912 'Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel' this object is described as "1805, November 23, Review. Large 10 feet reflector. A cluster of scattered, pretty large stars of various magnitudes, of an irregular figure. It is in the Milky Way."

Webb, T.W. (1893)

In the 5th edition of Webb's Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes it is described as "noble cluster arranged as oblique cross: pair of larger stars in each arm; brighter star in centre; not brighter than pairs. Larger stars dot it prettily with open doubles. Glorious neighbourhood."

Published comments

Raab, S. (1922)

Raab, S. (1922) A research on open clusters. Lund Medd. Astron. Obs. Ser. II, 28, 1.

Discussed, based of F-A plates.

Melotte, P.J. (1915)

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

Trumpler, R.J. (1928)

Trumpler (Lick Obs Bul, Vol 14, No. 420) gives the diameter as 18' and the class as 2 2 r.

Burnham's Celestial Handbook

Burnham calls it a bright, very large, very rich cluster, 20' across with about 100 stars 8th mag and fainter. It is a scattered group of irregular form, with the brightest stars in a pattern resembling an inverted letter Pi. To Webb it was 'a noble cluster arranged as an oblique cross' with a pair of stars in each arm. 'Larger stars dot it prettily with open doubles. Glorious neighbourhood.' The brightest star of the cluster is a yellow G0 giant with a visual magnitude of about 7.9.

Doig, P. (1926)

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

"condensed centre." He gives the approx. diameter as 35 arcmin.

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 7.0 mag open cluster.

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"cluster, coarse, irregular."

Bailey, S.I. (1908) A catalogue of bright stars and nebulae. Ann.Harv.Coll.Obs., 60(8), 199.

Modern observations

Hartung, E.J. (1968) Astron.Obj.South.Tel

Hartung calls this a "fine scattered cluster 20' across with a rather empty centre, and showing roughly the form of an oblique cross. The stars are numerous and elegantly dotted in arcs and small groups, the structure plain with 10.5cm."

Harrington, Phil

Harrington notes the cluster is "easily seen in finderscopes and binoculars as a nebulous patch ... Increasing the aperture and magnification will disperse the nebulous effect, leaving a pleasant open cluster in its wake. Over the years the pattern formed by M38's 100 stars has been variously described. The one most often mentioned is an oblique cross with a bright star at its centre. Others see the Greek letter pi."

Sanford (1989) Observing the Constellations

Sanford calls it "a large open cluster which has streams of stars leading into a rather dark middle." This cluster is involved with the Aur OB1 association.

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the electronic version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "6.4M; 21' diameter; sparse OPN CL similar to M-36; OPN CL N1907 (8.2M; 7' diameter; 20-plus 12M members) is 30' to S; OPN CL Stock-8 (10.2M; 4' diameter; 40-plus members and surrounding nebulosity I.418) is 1 degree S of N1907; DIF NEB N1931 is 40' E of Stock-8."

Raasch, Rick (1993)

Rick Raasch writes in "The Focal Point", Volume 6, No. 3 (1993) "M38 Easily seen in the finder, this cluster is about 25' in diameter, composed of over 100 stars of moderate brightness. Easily fitting in the field of view of a low power eyepiece is a companion cluster just south of M38. This is NGC 1907, which is seen as 10-12 stars against a hazy background."

Steve Gottlieb

05 28.7 +35 51

8: large, bright, rich cluster with many 10th magnitude stars, square or

cruciform shape, includes a number of double stars. A number of stars are

arranged in strings.

Callender, John

Observer: John Callender

Instrument: 50-mm binoculars Location: Carpinteria, CA, USA

Light pollution: light Transparency: good Seeing: poor

Time: Mon Feb 3 05:35:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 42

Large, 4-pointed fuzzy patch, medium brightness, beginning to be resolved with averted vision in 7x50s.

Observer: John Callender

Instrument: 8-inch Dobsonian reflector Location: Carpinteria, CA, USA

Light pollution: light Transparency: good Seeing: poor

Time: Sat Mar 1 05:15:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 85

A large, course cluster at 48X in the 8-inch.

Brian Skiff

6cm - 22x/35x/70x: nice, distorted X w/30+ *s and dk lane amongst. brtr * NE.

7cm - mod br rich cl @ 30x. cruciform pattern not consp. 50x: 100 *s in 15'

diam main body, many more in outliers to 45' diam. mod-strong broad

concen. BS, 26Nov1992, Anderson Mesa.

15cm - sm cl but nice @ 67x. an interesting compact grp. BS, 5Sep1970, FtL.

- fairly br and compact. 50 *s in 20' area, m7+. nebulous unres *s also.

BS, 25Oct1970, FtL.

- brtr *s arranged in triangles and long strings.

- cross obvious @ 95x. BS, 6Oct1981, Anderson Mesa.

- fine, lg, br, and rich cl, excellent @ 50x. outliers to 50' diam,

reaching to outskirts of -07 S. main body 20' diam, shows 120 *s @ 140x.

cruciform pattern not very obvious even @ 50x, but arms SW and NW are

most evident. central hole 5' diam, w/three *s. well concen overall. BS,

4Dec1989, Anderson Mesa.

25cm - vlg and br @ lox. oblique cross seen. 90x shows cen * surrounded by dk

ring 10' diam. 120 *s mostly m9-10. m7 * on W. 30' diam.

- 40' diam, uncondensed annulus. cross form makes reticle in annulus w/* in

center. 150 *s w/in 30', many outliers to 25' radius in pa170-270, almost

merging w/outliers of -07. BS, 6Oct1981, Anderson Mesa.

30cm - 140x: 120 *s in a nice, broad cl. some pairs and two `arms' extending N

and NE. CBL, Roof.


About 2 degrees southeast from Sigma Aurigae lies this big, bright showpiece of an open cluster. It is a rich swarm of some 100 stars of about 10th magnitude and fainter. The cluster diameter is 20', and looking rather squarish in a 6-inch at 50X, with clumps of stars in the corners. Taking time to view the cluster one gets the occasional glimpse of an even larger, richer background of countless extremely faint stars.

Danie L. Cronje


Danie Cronje, observing with 10x50 binoculars, notes "quite fainter than M36, M37. Can see 2 or 3 stars, the rest is just a glow with averted vision."

Contemporary observations

Auke Slotegraaf


The cluster is very faint in a 2-inch refractor at 20x. It has a very rough kite shape, with two arms leading off from the one side. At 40x it takes on a triangular shape with three arms. There is one very bright star in the central arm, and another further out along the same arm. All the stars are of more or less the same magnitude, with only 3 or 4 stars standing out above the rest.

1994 January 27

1994-01-27, Die Boord, tripod-mounted 11x80's Very low on horizon, some smoke. Not found, but M36 and M37 are seen.

Magda Streicher

1999 January 18

Open Cluster, Auriga, 5h 25m 3s, +35 48

Telescope: Meade 12-inch - 40mm wide-angle eyepiece.

Date: 18th January 1999.

Bright, very large mixed magnitude stars scattered around in a loosely square appearance. Brighter stars resemble to be a figure with its legs standing wide out to the north east, virtually no head on the shoulders. A few bright stars in a small concentration about 1/2 degree to the south to locate NGC 1907.

Tom Bryant

2006-09-30 03:30:00

Observing site: Little Tycho Observatory

Telescope: C-8

[5h 28m 42s, 35� 50m 0s] A very nice cluster, approximately 40 arc minutes in size.

Pierre de Villiers

2016 February 06, Saturday

Location: Bonnievale SSP (Night Sky Caravan Park)

Telescope: Skywatcher 200-mm f/5, Delos 8-mm (0.57-deg fov)

Sky conditions: Good (8/10)

Quality of observation: Good

Open cluster with complex structure. Stars 40+; m = 6. Size 15-arcmin.

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