Sky at Night Magazine - - SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE -

From Sir­ius, look 10.5° northwest to reach a great mul­ti­ple star, Beta Mono­cero­tis (RA 6h 28.8m, dec. –7° 02’). Its mag. +4.6 pri­mary has a mag. +5.0 com­pan­ion 7 arc­sec­onds to the south­east. This com­pan­ion has its own mag. +5.4 part­ner only 3 arc­sec­onds away. This trio of bluish stars forms a curve.

A jump 17° north of Beta Mono­cero­tis finds the Christ­mas Tree clus­ter, NGC 2264 (RA 6h 41.1m, dec. +9° 53’; pic­tured). This ar­range­ment of mostly 8th- and 9th-mag­ni­tude stars out­lines a tree shape around 0.5° high, eas­ily vis­i­ble in binoc­u­lars. Mag. +4.6 star S Mono­cero­tis marks its base. An 8-inch or larger scope will show faint neb­u­los­ity 0.1° south­east of S Mono­cero­tis (within the tree). Just above its ‘top’ star is the fa­mous Cone Neb­ula, mostly no­tice­able by an ab­sence of stars.

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