(IAAC) Obj: NGC 1981 - Inst: 7x50 handheld binoculars

Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate (some years)
Date/time of observation: 1998-02-19/20 03:30 UT
Location of site: Medford, MA, USA (Lat 42oN, Elev 5m)
Site classification: Suburban
Sky darkness: 5.6 <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: 7 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 7x50 handheld binoculars
Magnification: 7x
Filter(s): None
Object(s): NGC 1981
Category: Open cluster
Class: III 2 p n/III 3 p
Constellation: Ori
Data: mag 25'  size 4.6
Position: RA 05:35  DEC -04:25
Next up on my whirlwind binocular tour of Astronomical League list
objects tonight (see previous logs for Hyades, n1647, n1746) would
be a prominently placed cluster which I had somehow failed to note
in my log all these years! n1981 is maybe the easiest AL Binocular
Deep-Sky object to find, for anyone with ANY interest in deep-sky.
For it lies just one degree N of the Great Orion Nebula (M42) and
actually forms the fourth or "grip" "star" in Orion's sword! This
night, 1981 revealed no less than 10 stars to direct vision in the
7x50s, but beneath them essentially NO haze of unresolved fainter
stars... This was unusual, but no amount of averted vision or hand
steadying would turn up any hint of haze underneath - although per-
haps 1-2 more individual stars could be seen intermittently. But,
the bright stars formed into two interesting groups: one a crooked
N-S line of three mag 7 stars, and the other a "hook" of somewhat
fainter stars sweeping from this line out to the W and then S. All
in all, a MAGNIFICENT field showing M42, M43, iota & 42 Ori as well!
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