IC 2602

Combination of 21, 30 second images.
Modified Canon Digital Rebel DSLR camera. 135mm f/2.8 Olympus lens.

IC 2602 is a beautiful and bright open cluster in Carina, surrounding the star theta carinae. Sometimes known as 'The Pleiades of the South', IC 2602 is easily visible to the naked eye and makes a very good demonstration of averted vision. When staring straight at the cluster, only theta is generally visible. However looking with averted vision makes a number of other stars visible. I used it constantly in teaching students the value of averted vision.

The stars main stars are all quite bright and scattered over about 1 degree, so the cluster will fit in a wide angle eyepiece. As can be seen in the photograph below, the stars are all hot, blue giants, indication that the cluster is relatively young. IC 2602 is an excellent object for a small telescope or binoculars and deserves to be much better known.

Combination of 20, 30 second images taken in bright moonlight.
Modified Canon Digital Rebel DSLR camera. 5" f/5 refractor at prime focus.

The small, fainter cluster below IC 2602 is Mel 101.