Thursday, September 22, 2016

NGC 3532, Wishing Well Cluster

Rain and clouds are still in power over the skies of Lijiang so this is another opportunity to share one of my old observation made in Colombia.

Carina is one of my favorite constellations because it is a treasure chest full of DSOs including the open cluster NGC3532 also called football cluster or wishing well cluster. They said its shape resembles a rugby ball so that is why it is called football cluster, but if I had given it that name it would probably be because the brightest stars play for two teams: the blue and the red (shining in a red-orange color). Those are the main football (soccer) teams in my country and I am very familiar with them.

Binocular and eyepiece view comparison

The first time I saw it I was surfing the sky with binoculars and it seemed just like a tiny and crowded stellar town in the middle of a less starry background due to light pollution. Not far from it, there were others open clusters including the Great Nebula in Carina with its companion clusters NGC3324 and NGC3293; truly a good show for bino-viewers.

Later, despite the heavy urban light pollution and the last brightness of a waxing moon almost ready to set, I got to see dozens of stars in the cluster, in spite of the cheap 20mm erecting eyepiece that comes by default with the Celestron astromaster telescope. 

I believe that under darker skies and a better piece of glass, you can manage to see two or three times of the numbers of stars I could make out that night.  Of course, even in binoculars, the cluster looks like a lovely bunch of bright lights waiting to be explored more deeply.

Clear skies!


Edited by Jennifer Steinberg (editor in chief)


  1. Hermoso dibujo Lucho ! no lo tenía a ese cúmulo, lo agendo para las próximas noches noches de verano .
    saludos !

  2. Gracias por echarle un vistazo al blog Rodrigo. Espero que tu dibujo será mucho mejor que el mio porque que talento que tienes!