Simulated image of IC 2602
|Observation data (J2000 epoch)|
|Right ascension||10h 42m 57.5s|
|Declination||−64° 23′ 39″|
|Distance||547 ly (167.7 pc)|
|Apparent magnitude (V)||1.9|
|Apparent dimensions (V)||50′ × 50′|
|Estimated age||13.7 M.yr−1|
|Other designations||Theta Carinae Cluster, Caldwell 102, Melotte 102, Collinder 229, VDBH 103|
IC 2602, generally known as the Southern Pleiades or Theta Carinae Cluster, is an open cluster in the constellation Carina that was discovered by Abbe Lacaille in 1751 from South Africa. Easily seen with the naked eye, this cluster is one of the closest to us, whose distance is about 167.7 parsecs (547 light-years) away from Earth.
The Southern Pleiades (IC 2602) has a total apparent magnitude of 1.9, which is 70% fainter than the Taurean Pleiades, and contains about seventy-four stars. It is the third-brightest open cluster in the sky, following the Hyades. Like its northern counterpart, the Southern Pleiades spans a sizeable area of sky, approximately 50 arcminutes, so it is best viewed with large binoculars or telescope with a wide-angle eyepiece.
θ Carinae is the brightest star within the open cluster, with the apparent visual magnitude of +2.74. p Carinae (PP Carinae) is another third-magnitude star known to be a member of IC 2602, although it lies well outside the main visible grouping of stars. All the other members the cluster are of the fifth magnitude and fainter, but several are naked-eye objects, including HR 4196 (V518 Car), HR 4204, HR 4205, HR 4219, HR 4220, HR 4222, HD 92536, HD 93738, and V364 Carinae.
IC 2602 is likely about the same age as the open cluster IC 2391, which has a lithium depletion boundary age of 50 million years old, though the accepted age from its HR-Diagram is about 13.7 million years. IC 2602 stars are also all likely a part of the Lower Scorpius-Centaurus Association.
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