(IAAC) Obj: NGC 6231, Tr 24, Cr 316 (Sco Lizard, Sco Table, Sco Jewel Box) - Inst: 7x50 handheld binoculars

Observation Poster: Lew Gramer <dedalus@alum.mit.edu>
Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate (some years)
Date/time of observation: 22:00 Local 13/14 Aug 2001
Location of site: Long Key FL USA (Lat 25N, Elev 1m)
Site classification: Rural
Sky darkness: 7.5 <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: 8 <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 6231, Tr 24, Cr 316 (Sco Lizard, Sco Table, Sco Jewel Box)
Category: Open cluster. Emission nebula.
Class: I 3 p n, IV 2 p n, E
Constellation: Sco
Data: mag 2.6, 8.6p, 5.2  size 15', 60', 240'
Position: RA 16:55  DEC -41:
In binoculars from a dark, dark sky, this is an absolutely
fascinating complex of nebulosity and intermingled (and in
the case of Collinder 316 and Trumpler 24, most likely co-
identified) open clusters. Depending on your creative imag-
ination, the "Lizard" can consist of a body formed by the
huge semi-resolved haze of Tr 24, together with either a
head formed by tiny bright n6231, or else a head formed by
a south-stretching lobe of Tr 24, with n6231 providing the
beady little eye of the reptile! In any case, this entire
field is fascinating in any instrument from well-corrected
naked eyes, to binoculars of any size, to richfield scopes.
The Emission feature involved in NGC 6231 is cataloged as
both large enough and bright enough to have been observed
in the binoculars tonight. If so, it probably added a well
defined "skin" for the Lizard among many partly resolved
star clumps. I would be interested to hear if others with
a more southerly location (Equatorial region, Down Under)
can confirm or deny the nebulosity's visibility in binos.
So far as I know, the name "The Lizard" must be attributed
to the redoubtable George Tegzes, president of the Florida
Keys Astronomy Club and resident philosopher of the WSP...
NOTE that there have been several previous logs of objects
centered in this region (although none with richest field).
William Schart calls the area the "Scorpius Jewel Box":
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