He described the dozen or so 6th- to 11th-magnitude stars within this 10'-wide open cluster as a "casket of variously coloured precious stones." In Centaurus my eyes feasted on the magnificent naked-eye globular cluster NGC 5139
, Omega Centauri, and the giant peculiar galaxy NGC 5128, also known as Centaurus A, which flaunted its famous dust lane.
Edmond Halley discovered that the mighty Omega ([omega]) Centauri (NGC 5139
) was a cluster in 1677, though Ptolemy had plotted it as a "star" centuries beforehand.
I am, of course, referring to Omega Centauri, NGC 5139
. From hilltop sites with good southern horizons on the San Francisco peninsula, this mammoth globular is a naked-eye object as it skims the treetops, and a small refractor shows many of its brighter stars.
Jay Reynolds Freeman's Picks Object Constellation Type M31 Andromeda Galaxy Sculptor Dwarf Sculptor Galaxy Galaxy M45 Taurus Open cluster M42/M43 Orion Diffuse nebula Virgo Cluster Virgo Galaxy cluster NGC 4565 Coma Galaxy NGC 5139
Centaurus Globular cluster M20 Sagittarius Diffuse nebula M16 Serpens Diffuse nebula M57 Lyra Planetary nebula Einstein's Pegasus Quasar Cross Milky Way -- Galaxy Object R.A.