Messier 6, aka the Butterfly Cluster, is one of several that’s easily spotted by observers in the southern and mid-northern latitudes (unfortunately, it’s too far south to be seen by those in the United Kingdom.) If you’re lucky enough to see the whole of Scorpius, you may be able to glimpse the cluster with just your eyes, close to the sting of the scorpion itself.
The cluster is about half the size of its neighbour, Messier 7. Binoculars should reveal a number of faint stars, like granules of sugar in a triangular pattern, but the best views will always come through the eyepiece of a telescope. Even at low power the cluster can be spectacular, with the butterfly shape being easily seen and hundreds of tiny stars catching the eye of the patient observer.
(Click on an image to enlarge.)
14:05 UT – New Moon. (Taurus, not visible.)
14:20 UT – The just-past new Moon passes Mars. (Mars: 100% illuminated, magnitude 1.5, diameter 3.6”. Taurus, not visible.)
The open star cluster M6, the Butterfly Cluster, culminates at midnight tonight. (Magnitude 4.2. Scorpius, all night.)
The globular star cluster M14 culminates at midnight tonight. (Magnitude 8.3. Ophiuchus, all night.)
Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.
All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.
2015: An Astronomical Year
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