How to find the Starfish Cluster (Messier 38)

In this article we are going to talk about how to find the Starfish Cluster M38. The Starfish Cluster can be quite beautiful. Some of the most beautiful sights in the night sky are open star clusters, such as the Pleiades cluster, which looks like a miniature version of the Plough or Big Dipper. 

Other prominent open star clusters in the night sky include the Hyades in Taurus, with its striking v-shape or the double cluster in the Perseus constellation

It is important, however, that a star cluster has a shape in order to be truly memorable. This is because star clusters are just clusters of stars grouped together in the sky, and some of the best ones are recognizable by some shape, like the Starfish Cluster.

Click to enlarge M38 star chart
The Starfish Cluster looks kind of like an irregular X, star clusters are another one of those objects in the night sky that the binocular excels at this is because they are usually quite large spread across a large area of the night sky. As a matter of fact, most telescopes would give an overly focused view, not capturing the full effect of a spectacle. However, this cluster should be at least mostly visible in a telescope by using a very low-powered eyepiece, such as a 32mm eyepiece. So let's find out where it is.

How to find M38?

To find the M38 star cluster you first need to find the highly recognizable high Hyades star cluster in the Taurus constellation and then head up the short distance to the Auriga constellation. At this start at the bottom corner of the Auriga constellation you just need to hop up to M38, which is almost directly above it.

To see what the Starfish Cluster looks like through binoculars or a very low powered telescope eyepiece as well as some stacked images and more in depth star charts please watch the episode below.

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