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NGC 2168 (4,098 of 18,816)


oc gc pln bn dn gx gxcl ast aka lost




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Messier 35

NGC 2168, Cl Collinder 82, C 0605+243, Ocl 466.0, COCD 87, Messier 35, h 377, GC 1360

RA: 06h 09m 6s
Dec: +24° 21′ 0″

Con: Gemini
Ch: MSA:156, U2:137, SA:5

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

(reference key)

Type: open cluster, 33r

Mag: B=5.31, V=5.1

Size: 25′
PA: ?

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Sketches  (1)

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Photos  (1)

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Historical observations

Cheseaux / Messier

First noted by the French astronomer Cheseaux in 1746, he called it "a star cluster above the northern feet of Gemini" Messier included it in his catalog in 1764. William Herschel did not include this cluster in his catalogue, as a way of honouring Charles Messier, whose work inspired him to do his own sky survey. It is nearly half a degree across, and has about 200 stars scattered about, with no central condensation.

William Herschel (c.1784)

In the Philosophical Transactions, 1818, William Herschel wrote: "1794 It is visible to the naked eye as a very small cloudiness. 1783, 1794, 1801, 1813, 7 feet telescope. It is a rich cluster of stars of various sizes. 1806, 10 feet telescope. There is no central contraction to denote a globular form. 1783, 1785, 20 feet telescope. A cluster of pretty compressed large stars."

Webb, T.W. (1893)

In the 5th edition of Webb's Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes it is described as "beautiful and extensive region of small stars, a nebula to naked eye. How differently Lassell's 24-inch mirror shows it, his own words will best tell: 'A marvellously striking object. No one can see it for the first time without an exclamation . . . The field of view, 19' in diam. and angular subtense 53.5 degrees, is perfectly full of brilliant stars, unusually equal in magnitude, and distribution over the whole area. Nothing but a sight of the object itself can convey an adequate idea of its exquisite beauty.' Smyth observes that the stars form curves, often commening with a larger one. There is an elegant festoon near centre, starting with a reddish star; 9-inch speculum 1871. No ruddy star, Feb. 18, 21, 1882. Espin, pale yellow, 1893. About half a degree S.p., just beyond a group of outliers, is NGC 2158, a faint dim cloud of very minute stars."

Published comments

Bailey, S.I. (1908)

"! cluster; fairly condensed."

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

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.

Doig, P. (1925)

Journal BAA, 35, p159.

vL thin cluster without conspicuous condensation, passing gradually into surroundings, about 50' diamete; ... Earl of Rosse counted 300 stars in a field 26' diameter, where Robert's photos show 620.

Doig, P. (1925)

Doig, P. (1925) Notes on the nebulae and clusters in Webb's 'Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes' (Sixth edition, Vol.ii). Part II. M.N.R.A.S., 35(8), 280.

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 29' and the class as 3 3 r.

Sulentic & Tifft (1973)

The RNGC (Sulentic and Tifft 1973) notes that this is a 5.5 mag open cluster.

Vorontsov-Velyaminov, B. (1925/1926)

Vorontsov-Velyaminov, B. (1925) "Catalogue of integrated magnitudes of star clusters", Astron. Nach. 226.195. Comparing the brightness of the cluster with the extrafocal images of stars, he estimates the magnitude as 5.99.

Doig, P. (1926)

Doig, P. (1926) "A Catalogue of Estimated Parallaxes of 112 Nebulae, Open clusters and Star Groups", Vol 36 (4), p 107-115.

"thin open circular well-defined cluster." He gives the approx. diameter as 45 arcmin.

Modern observations

Sagot & Texereau (1964)

Sagot and Texereau, in their observing manual "Revue des Constellations", call M35 a "splendid cluster", and say that it is easy in even the smallest instruments. They note that a few of its stars can be seen in 6x20 binoculars, some 40 in a 2-inch refractor, and about 300 in a 12.5-inch reflector at 80x.

Walter Scott Houston

In the 1844 Bedford Catalogue, Admiral Smythe noted that "the centre of the mass [was] less rich than than the rest". This starry smoke ring appearance is apparent with a large field, as Houston notes "it was far less apparent with the 4" Clark at 60X, but was well seen with 15x65 binoculars." Houston likens it to a "fat Life Saver, all white and glistening." He writes: "I feel [it] is one of the greatest objects in the heavens. It is as big as the Moon and fills the eyepiece with a glitter of bright stars from centre to edge, with no central condensation. The 19th century English observers Admiral W. H. Smyth likened it to the 'bursting of a sky-rocket'.'"

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

Hartung notes: "this beautiful cluster is an effective object for small apertures; it is more than 30' across and many of the stars are in curved lines and sprays which give it almost a cellular structure."

Reeves, Ken (1997)

Ken Reeves, in "SACNEWS On-line for February 1997", observing with a 10-inch f/4.5 scope, notes: NGC 2168 (06 08.9 +24 20) It's hard to discuss Gemini without talking about open cluster M 35. This is a bright enough object to be seen naked eye as a fuzzy spot in the sky. A very large object that, unlike NGC 2158, is best at low power. Using 35X, I estimated about 100 stars with a very nice arc of 10 stars across the middle and 4 levels of stars in this cluster. There were so many stars that I just drew the brightest ones, not wanting to spend the entire night on this one object. I have yet to see a picture that does justice to this object, this one just seems to show more depth and detail than the pictures show. This is also one of those objects that can really be appreciated in binoculars.

Walter Scott Houston

Under good skies it can be picked up with the naked eye. Houston invites the observer to "look out for many curving star chains."

Harrington, Phil

Harrington calls it "one of the finest open clusters the heavens have to offer. On a clear, dark night you can see M35 with your naked eye as a misty patch of light in the mainstream of the Milky Way. Seven-power binoculars will begin to resolve individual cluster members, but a 4- to 6-inch scope really cracks the star-filled vault of M35 ... most of the cluster's brighter stars are blue-white luminaries, while others are yellow and orange giants. Many follow graceful arcs and curves that thread throughout the cluster, though there is a curious absence of stars near the group's centre."

Tom Lorenzin

Tom Lorenzin, in the electronic version of "1000+ The Amateur Astronomers' Field Guide to Deep Sky Observing", notes: "5.1M; 30' extent; large gap across center; appears tri-partite; between M-36 and M-37 in appearance and population; OPN CL N2158 (11M; 5' diameter, small and distant; optical companion to M-35; diffuse and largely unresolved) a few minutes to SW; weak OPN CL I.2157 30' off WSW edge of M-35; OPN CL N2129 with 7M star 1 degree farther SW."

Shaffer, Alan (IAAC)

Observer: Alan Shaffer (e-mail: milkyway@gte.net); Instrument: 10-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain reflector Location: Redondo Beach, CA, USA; Light pollution: moderate Transparency: good Seeing: fair; Time: Mon Feb 10 05:00:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 67

Nice, large open cluster Used 104X and filled the entire field. A very nice object. Always fun to observe. NGC 2158 was a faint patch at 167X.

Callender, John (IAAC)

Observer: John Callender (e-mail: jbc@west.net, web: http://www.west.net/~jbc/); Instrument: 50-mm binoculars Location: Carpinteria, CA, USA; Light pollution: light Transparency: good Seeing: fair; Time: Wed Feb 5 04:15:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 46

Big, beautiful cluster. Two brighter members easily resolved in 7x50s, with several more seen with averted vision. The cluster itself definitely detectable (at least fleetingly) near the zenith with the naked eye and averted vision.

Observer: John Callender (e-mail: jbc@west.net, web: http://www.west.net/~jbc/); Instrument: 8-inch Dobsonian reflector Location: Carpinteria, CA, USA; Light pollution: light Transparency: good Seeing: poor; Time: Sat Mar 1 05:00:00 1997 UT Obs. no.: 83

A glorious splash of stars at 48X in the 8-inch.

Steve Coe

Steve Coe, observing with a 13" f/5.6, notes: "(M 35) Bright, large, not compressed and very rich at 60X using my 38mm Giant Erfle eyepiece. There is a lovely orange star near the center of the cluster. This cluster is just seen naked eye from my best observing locations in the mountains of central Arizona. In my 10X50 binoculars M 35 is resolved with about 20 stars displayed. One of my best views of this object was with an 8" f/4.5 and a 20mm Erfle eyepiece. The almost 2 degree field framed the cluster nicely and NGC 2158 was easily seen to the SW. Lord Rosse counted 300 stars in this cluster, I will check that out when I get my 72" working."

Brian Skiff

WDS: br pair = ADS 4744: 8.5,9.8; 31"; pa188.

Hoag: fntr * in pair V=9.1.

naked eye - lg, rel consp fuzz. glow just touches 5 Gem on NE. BS, 4Feb1991, Anderson Mesa.

6cm - sketch in logbook. BS, 5Oct1969, FtL.

- beautiful rich cl w/br *s and just-out-of-reach underlying haze. best nights show haze to be granular. 23 *s. FtL.

- 21x: well res w/most of the br *s strewn to E. at 35x it appears like a doughnut w/40+ *s res, incl some haze in the annulus. brtst * is on NE, in dbl.

7cm - resembles M38 @ 30x but *s brtr and cen hole w/o *s consp. outliers reach to 5 Gem on NE, main body ~20' diam. 50x shows ~100 *s in this smlr region. BS, 26Nov1992, Anderson Mesa.

15cm - grand cl @ 38x. outliers fill 90' fld. FtL.

- lg br cl fills 50x/1.2-deg fld. main body 20' diam, halo contains mostly fntr *s, roughly uniformly distributed. main body fairly well- def, reaching to brtr/Nrn * of wide br pair N of center. lots of m10 *s here, but in rough annulus; in 5' hole in center there are only rel f *s. count 150 *s easily in 20' diam. outliers reach to 5 Gem ENE, and a little past N2158 to SW. BS, 4Feb1991, Anderson Mesa.

25cm - 80' diam, center is 20' diam. on NE is m8,9.5 pair of yellow and blue, resp. center of core has only a few f *s. outliers extend E to m7.5 *. marvelous.

30cm - essentially completely res w/cen hole of 6cm not so obvious, as it appears to spread E-W most of the way through the cl. possibly 200 *s, overflowing 22' fld. poorly concen.

Danie L. Cronje


Danie Cronje, observing with 10x50 binoculars, calls it "a few bright stars with a large number of faint stars making up a glow."

Contemporary observations

Auke Slotegraaf


In 8x40 binoculars, it appears to have an elongated shape.


A 6-inch refractor under bright skies with a medium power eyepiece shows it to be well resolved with very few faint stars. Many patterns can be traced out with the eye, making it a most pleasing sight.


A 10-inch f/5 at 30x shows this very large cluster with its many members well, but in this observation most are washed out by the moon; all that shows is about half a dozen reasonably bright stars, the rest a faint scattered background. Right on the edge of the cluster lies the brightest star in the cluster, a pale red sun. The hole in the centre of the cluster in this washed-out view is easy to see with the 40mm eyepiece, but it is far more obvious at 100x, the cluster taking on the appearance of a broad round band of stars with a vacant area in the centre.


In a 15.5 inch reflector at 220x, there are about 6 prominently bright stars, the cluster being very open, loose and moderately rich. It is somewhat disappointing, and appears better in smaller 'scopes.

Richard Ford

2012 January 23. Sun


Instrument:12-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope.

Sky Conditions:The fainter parts of the Milky Way are barely visible.

Transparency of the Sky:Haziness only visible on the horizon.

Seeing:Atmosphere stable with little interference.



Object Type:Open Cluster.

First Impression:This object looks like an open cluster.



Chart Number:No.3(Extract taken out of "Atlas of the Night Sky").

Size:26mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:57'/3=19'.

20mm Eyepiece:Field Of View:50'/2.5=20'.



Size in Arc Minutes:19.5'.


Major Axis:19.5'.


Minor Axis:6.5'.

Open Cluster is 19.5'*6.5'.

Brightness:Magnitude 5.1.

Brightness Profile:From the center of this cluster this cluster grows brighter compared to the far outskirts of this cluster.

Challenge Rating:Easy.



This open cluster is seen as a large cluster whereby the stars in this cluster are not separated.By observing this open cluster I have counted 220 stars within a fixed diameter.However most of the stars are nearly the same brightness as each other.In this cluster the stars are not at all concentrated towards each other while I have found no starless patches.

Tom Bryant

2006-09-26 03:30:00

Observing site: Little Tycho Observatory

Telescope: C-8

[6h 8m 54s, 24� 20m 0s] A field filling cluster of bright stars. Approximately 1 degrees in size.

Pierre de Villiers

2016 February 06, Saturday

Location: Bonnievale SSP (Night Sky Caravan Park)

Telescope: Skywatcher 200 f/5, Hyperion 13-mm (0.9-deg fov)

Sky conditions: Good (8/10)

Quality of observation: Good

Large open cluster with an interesting "misshapen 'M'" or 'kiestand', north-east facing shape. Pretty.

M = 5. Size ~20' (25' catalogued)

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