Tuesday 19 September 2017 - 21:09:41 Posted by  Bobby

 Mythology of Monoceros

Monoceros straddles the celestial equator between Orion and Canis Minor. Introduced in the early 17th century by the Dutchman Petrus Plancius, it represents the mythical unicorn. Its brightest star is Alpha Monocerotis, magnitude 3.9. Monoceros is ofter overlooked in favor of its glittering neighboring constellations, but it lies in the Milky Way and contains much of interest for owners of any size of instrument.

 The Facts

  • Depiction: The Unicorn
  • Pronounced: mon-OSS-er-us
  • Genitive: Monocerotis
  • Abbreviation: Mon
  • Highest in the Sky: January to February
  • Size Ranking: 35th
  • Coverage Area: 482 Sq. Degrees
  • Right Acension: 7 hours
  • Declination: -5°
  • Visibility: 75°N to 80°S

 Notable Objects

  • M50: Open cluster
  • NGC 2232: Open cluster
  • NGC 2237: Rosette Nebula
  • NGC 2244: Rosette Nebula
  • NGC 2264: Christmas Tree Nebula
  • NGC 2346: Planetary Nebula
  • Plaskett's Star: Binary star

 Best Viewed Objects/Stars

Beta Monocerotis

 A triple star, divisible with a small telescope. The three stars, magnitudes 4.6, 5.0 and 5.4, form an arc.

8 Monocerotis (Epsilon Monocerotis)

 A double star with components of magnitudes 4.4 and 6.7 that are easy to divide through a small telescope.

S Monocerotis (15 Monocerotis)

 A highly luminous blue-white star, magnitude 4.7 (but slightly variable), in the cluster NGC 2264. It has a companion of 8th-magnitude, visible with a small telescope.


 An open cluster about half the apparent size of the full Moon and visible with binoculars. A small telescope reveals its individual stars of 8th magnitude and fainter. It lies 3,000 light-years away.

NGC 2232

 A scattered open cluster. The same apparent size as the full Moon, it is just visible to the naked eye. Its brightest star is 5th-magnitude 10 Monocerotis, and several other individual member stars are visible with binoculars. It lies 1,200 light-years away.

NGC 2244

 An open cluster at the heart of the much larger Rosette Nebula. The cluster is easily visible through binoculars as an elongated group about two-thirds the apparent size of the full moon. However, excellent skies are needed to trace the outline of the surrounding Rosette Nebula, which is three to four times larger and shows up well only on photographs. The cluster and nebula lie about 5,000 light-years away.

NGC 2264

 An open cluster. It is visible with binoculars; when viewed through a small telescope it appears triangular in shape. Its brightest member is S Monocerotis. Long-exposure photographs show a surrounding of faint nebulosity, which includes a dark lane known as the Cone Nebula. The cluster and associated nebula are about 2,500 light-years away.

 Where to?

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