Melotte 111, Open Cluster

Coma Berenices and Melotte 111. Image Credit: Rogelio Bernal Andreo
Melotte 111: Also known as Mel 111, this open star cluster is the 3rd nearest to Earth at a distance of just 288 light years. This may explain, at least in part, the cluster’s large size. This cluster is so large and loose, it was only confirmed to be an actual star cluster in 1938. For this reason, Mel 111 is only a naked eye/binocular target. In a telescope, you would barely be able to tell you’re looking at a cluster. However, in binoculars Mel 111 reveals itself as a gorgeous cluster. To find it, draw a line from Akaid, the end of the big dipper’s handle, to Cor Caroli. Continue on this imaginary line until you find the cluster in Coma Berenices.

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