NGC 2360 is an open cluster visible with binoculars in the constellation of Canis Major. It was the first deep sky discovery made by Caroline Herschel - the younger sister of William Herschel - on February 26, 1783. She described it as "a beautiful cluster of pretty compressed stars near 1/2 degree in diameter." It's also known as Caroline's Cluster, Caldwell 58 and Melotte 64.

William included the cluster in his 1786 catalogue of 1000 clusters, crediting his sister as the discoverer. At magnitude +7.2, NGC 2360 is not visible to the naked eye but it's an easy binocular object and a fine sight through small telescopes. The cluster is positioned 8 degrees east-northeast of the brightest star in the night sky Sirius (α CMa - mag. -1.47) and lies 3.5 degrees directly east of gamma CMa (γ CMa - mag. +4.1). At the western edge of NGC 2360 is an unrelated star, HD 56405 (mag. +5.5).

NGC 2360 - Open Cluster (Roberto Mura)

Finder Chart for NGC 2360

Finder Chart for NGC 2360 - pdf format

NGC 2360 appears as a smudge of light through 7x50 or 10x50 binoculars with the brightest components just about resolvable. A small 80mm (3.1-inch) scope reveals tens of stars packed in a rich round grouping that spans about 14 arc minutes in diameter. This is one cluster that handles high magnifications well, so don't be afraid to push the power up as the seeing conditions allow. Medium sized 150mm (6-inch) or 200mm (8-inch) scopes reveals at least 45 stars with many of the stars being of the same colour and roughly the same brightness. They trace nice arcs and winding paths throughout the cluster. Although not as bright as the nearby Messier open clusters (M41, M46, M47 and M93), NGC 2360 is a fine cluster for all telescope sizes.

NGC 2360 is 3,700 light-years distant and is estimated to be 2.2 billion years old. It's best seen during months of November, December, January and February.

NGC 2360 Data Table

NameCaroline's Cluster
Object TypeOpen Cluster
ConstellationCanis Major
Distance (ly)3,700
Apparent Mag.+7.2
RA (J2000)07h 17m 43s
DEC (J2000)-15h 38m 29s
Apparent Size (arc mins)14 x 14
Radius (light-years)8
Age (years)2.2 Billion
Number of Stars>50
Other NameMelotte 64

Sky Highlights - March 2017

Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak now visible with binoculars as it heads towards perihelion

Mercury heading towards greatest elongation east

Minor Planet
Vesta now visible with binoculars and small telescopes.

The Planets
This Month's Guide

Algol Minima
Algol eclipse dates and times for March 2017

Northern Hemisphere
West:- Venus (mag. -4.8 to -4.1 - first half of month), Mars (mag. +1.3 to +1.5), Uranus (mag. +5.9), Mercury (mag. -1.5 to -0.4 - second half of month)
Southeast:- Jupiter (mag. -2.3 to -2.5)
Southwest:- Jupiter
Southeast:- Saturn (mag. +0.5)

Southern Hemisphere
West:- Venus (first half of month), Mars, Uranus
North:- Jupiter
East:- Saturn
West:- Jupiter
Northeast:- Saturn
East:- Neptune (mag. +8.0 - second half of month)

Deep Sky
Naked eye / binoculars:-
Melotte 111 - Mel 111 - The Coma Star Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 44 - M44 - The Praesepe (Open Cluster)

Messier 67 - M67 - Open Cluster
Messier 51 - M51 - The Whirlpool Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy)
Messier 97 - M97 - The Owl Nebula (Planetary Nebula)
Messier 101 - M101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy (Spiral Galaxy)
Messier 65 – M65 – Spiral Galaxy
Messier 66 - M66 - Intermediate Spiral Galaxy
Messier 95 - M95 - Barred Spiral Galaxy
Messier 96 - M96 - Intermediate Spiral Galaxy
NGC 4244 - Spiral Galaxy
NGC 4565 - Needle Galaxy - Spiral Galaxy

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