κ Normae

Kappa Normae is a convenient star from which to find two pleasant clusters, one to the north and the other south of this star.

Kappa is one field of view south of gamma2 Normae. If you put kappa toward to top of your glasses, you see both clusters: binoculars

Norma is relatively small as constellations go, but there are at least a dozen clusters here, mostly in the southern region. Two of the best are NGC 6067 and NGC 6087.

NGC 6067 is an open cluster less than a degree north of kappa. It consists of about a hundred tenth-magnitude stars tightly grouped; with an apparent magnitude of 5.6, well seen in binoculars. In telescopes the cluster comes alive in blue and red stars, which some observers believe outclasses the famous ‘Jewel Box’ of Crux.

The open cluster NGC 6087 is about 3º east of iota1; it has around 350 stars with an apparent magnitude of 5.4, grouped round the brightest member of the group, S Normae, which is a Cepheid variable fluctuating in brightness—6.1 to 6.8—over 9.8 days, easily identified by its orange colour.

This star we just used to find NGC 6087, iota1, is a multiple system:
      AB (See 258): 5.2, 5.8; 228º, 0.4", with an orbit of 26.9 years.
     AB-C (h4825): 4.6, 8.0; 243º, 11.1".

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© 1999-2014 by Richard Dibon-Smith.