Solar System

(The Charioteer)

A group of stars with one star attached to the constellation Taurus thus being named Beta Tauri. This star should be Gamma Aurigae.

Auriga is home to the sixth brightest star, Capella. There are also many meteor showers such as the Aurigids, which have bright fireballs.

  Crowded is one word to describe this magnitude 6 open cluster. Altogether there are 500 stars with 150 being bright enough to see in a small telescope. It is also fairly ancient with many red giants complementing the young blue stars.
  M36 is the opposite of M37, it is a very young open cluster and contains no red giants. It also contains about 100 less stars.

The brightest star of this open cluster is nearly 1000 times brighter than the Sun! This proves our Solar System is insignificant and that mankind is nothing but a tiny speck on the surface of the Universe. M38 is near M36 and is quite richly populated with about 100 stars.

Below M38 lies a smaller and fainter cluster called NGC 1907 that glows at a magnitude of 8. Widefield photographs show a large emission nebula called Sh2-230 to the right of both clusters.

Flaming Star Nebula     Flaming Star Nebula (IC 405):

The story behind this nebula is quite interesting. It is the result of a 'runaway' star called AE Aurigae that travelled through the galaxy at a great speed and stumbled into a cloud of gas that is lit up by the star. Unbelievably it was ejected 2 million years ago from the Orion Nebula!

The name comes from purple nebulosity that seems to emanate from AE Aurigae and this purple nebulosity is surrounded by pinkish wisps of gas. The scattered appearance of the nebula is due to the gas being blown outwards by the powerful stellar winds emitted by AE Aurigae.

The name of the Flaming Star Nebula comes from a description by Max Wolf in 1909. The nebula was discovered in 1892 by John Martin Schaeberle at the Lick Observatory in California.    
Image copyright R. Croman
Tadpole Nebula (IC 410):
This nebula is an interesting area of emission nebulosity that has spawned an open cluster called NGC 1893. This cluster is what gives the nebula the energy for its gas to be ionized and to glow. The most interesting thing about the nebula are two structures that are fittingly shaped as tadpoles. These are areas of active star formation and they are affected by the solar wind of NGC 1893. The effect of this is very apparent as their tails point away from the star cluster. The main nebula is also obscured by a trio of dark patches that block its light.
NGC 1931:
Similar to the Orion Nebula, NGC 1931 is a cluster of stars shrouded in red nebulosity with a blue reflection component. At the centre of the cluster are four stars arranged in the shape of a trapezium. This is the similarity with the Orion Nebula as that also has a trapezium shaped group at the centre called the Trapezium. Brown dust also pervades the area and is directly in front of certain parts on the main complex.
IC 417:
Similar to NGC 1931 below, this is a nebula with a cluster except that the cluster is to the right of the nebula instead of being embedded inside.
IC 417 and the cluster Stock 8 are near two bright stars, Phi and 24 Aurigae. The nebula is shaped like an upside down 'V' and has blue and purple hues and tones to its colour. The cool thing about IC 417 is that more nebulosity is revealed when it is observed or imaged with a hydrogen alpha filter.

A very large emission nebula that is part of a group of Sharpless nebulae that are near M38. Sh2-232 is the largest of the group with a series of dark patches blotting the northern half. Below a star near the centre, is possibly the ultimate obscurity, a planetary nebula called Pu2 that was discovered in 1980!

To the right of Sh2-232 is a bright cloud called Sh2-235, further to the right is the faintest of the group, Sh2-231. Near this is an emission nebula with hints of a reflection component, Sh2-233.

The most ideal method of observing would be astrophotography using a H-alpha filter, this is definitely the case for any detection of the planetary nebula Pu2.

vdB31:   NGC 1931
The magnitude 7 star AB Aurigae is at the heart of this reflection nebula. Near vdB31 is the form of an ominous obscuring patch, two dark nebulae designated as B26 and B28. These dark nebulae are supposedly easier to see than vdB31 possibly because vdB31 is very faint and dark nebulae are conspicuous due to blocking the light of whatever is behind them.  
A beautiful combination deep sky object, NGC 1931 lies near the star cluster M36.
Image copyright A. Block/R. Jay GaBany