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



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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:
Description:
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.
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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.
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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...
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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":
  http://visualdeepsky.org/netastrocatalog/msg01507.html
  http://visualdeepsky.org/netastrocatalog/msg00762.html
  http://visualdeepsky.org/netastrocatalog/msg01508.html
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