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Web Extra: 11 top winter binocular gems

One supernova remnant, two double stars, and eight clusters beckon cold-weather skygazers.
Crab Nebula
The rush of Arctic air often leads to the most transparent — and coldest — nights of the year. Binoculars make it easy to step out and quickly take in the overhead tapestry of stars without freezing through any setup time. Here are 11 wonderful winter targets you can enjoy any clear night.

Let’s start in the constellation Taurus the Bull. I can still recall one frigid January night back in high school when I first spotted the Crab Nebula (M1) through old 7x35 binoculars. Lying in a snow bank and scanning the winter stars, I aimed toward its location, 1° northwest of Zeta (ζ) Tauri, the Bull’s eastern horn. Sure enough, there it was. Admittedly, the Crab lies at the limit of most binoculars, but I could definitely make out its tiny patch by using averted vision. How about you?

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