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

NGC2360
Caldwell58
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 - September 2017

Opposition
Neptune reaches opposition on September 5th

The Planets
This Month's Guide

Algol Minima
Algol eclipse dates and times for September

Northern Hemisphere
Evening
West:- Jupiter (mag. -1.7)
Southwest:- Saturn (mag. +0.5)
East:- Neptune (mag. +7.8)
Midnight
South:- Neptune
East:- Uranus (mag. +5.7)
Morning
West:- Neptune
South:- Uranus
East:- Venus (mag. -3.9), Mars (mag. +1.8) (from second week), Mercury (mag. +0.5 to -1.3) (from second week)

Southern Hemisphere
Evening
West:- Jupiter
Northwest:- Saturn
East:- Neptune
Midnight
West:- Saturn
North:- Neptune
Northeast:- Uranus
Morning
West:- Neptune
Northwest:- Uranus
Northeast:- Venus
East:- Mars (end of month)

Deep Sky

Small telescopes:-
Messier 13 - M13 - Great Hercules Globular Cluster
Messier 92 - M92 - Globular Cluster
Messier 11 - M11 - The Wild Duck Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 7 - M7 - The Ptolemy Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 6 - M6 - The Butterfly Cluster (Open Cluster)
Messier 4 - M4 - Globular Cluster
Messier 8 - M8 - Lagoon Nebula (Emission Nebula)
Messier 16 - M16 - Eagle Nebula (Emission Nebula with Open Cluster)
Messier 20 - M20 - Trifid Nebula (Emission and Reflection Nebula)

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