NGC6231 - The False Comet Cluster
(aka the Northern Jewel Box)
IC4628 - Emission Nebula

falsecomet-65c-06-800.jpg (98661 bytes)

NGC6231, IC4628
Constellation: Scorpius - The Scorpion
Type: Open Cluster
Position: RA:16h50m 30s
Magnitude: 6
Exposure: Taken 5/18/04 at the Texas Star Party
20 minutes on Kodak Elite Chrome 200
Processing: Levels, color balance adjusted in Photoshop.
Equipment: Orion 80ED f/7.5 OTA on a Losmandy G-11 Gemini mount.
Guided with an SBIG ST-4 autoguider through an Orion 120 ST plus a 2X barlow
Notes: Under a dark sky, this object looks very much like a comet sitting in the tail of the scorpion. It goes by several names including the False Comet and the Northern Jewel Box. NGC6231 is the small cluster near the bottom of the image.  Extending up from NGC6231 is a streamer of stars leading to a much looser cluster designated as H12. To the naked eye, this streamer and group of stars look like a tail coming off the 'comet.'   IC4628 is the red nebula at the top of the image.

Of interest at the bottom of the image are two stars - Zeta 1 (on the right) and Zeta 2 (the red one on the left).   Although the leftmost star appears larger, this is a result of the film's higher sensitivity to the star's red color.  In fact, it is Zeta 1 that is the more luminous star. It lies at the same distance as the small cluster, but has an absolute magnitude of -8.  This makes it one of the brightest stars known in the Galaxy.

Locator Chart

scorpiustailchart.gif (6729 bytes)
Chart copyright Steven Tuma and Dean Williams - Deepsky 2003

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