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Starfish Cluster

M38, NGC 1912

Proper NameStarfish Cluster
Messier NumberM38
NGC/IC NumberNGC 1912
Right Ascension5h 28m 43s
Declination+35° 51' 18"
Distancec.3,500 light years
c.1,100 parsecs
MagnitudeApparent: +6.4
Absolute: -4.3
DiameterApparent: 20'
Actual: 27 light years
Number of Starsc. 100
Optimum VisibilityDecember / January
NotesOne of a series of three prominent open clusters running through southern Auriga (the others being M36, the Pinwheel Cluster, and M37, both lying eastward of M38). The common name of the 'Starfish Cluster' refers to M38's irregular arrangement of stars, with some members appearing to stretch out in ragged strings from the main mass of the cluster.
Illustration of M38

The star cluster known as M38 lies within the band of the Milky Way, in the constellation of Auriga, the Charioteer.

An open star cluster approximately 3,500 light years from Earth, lying in the constellation of Auriga.


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