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Double Cluster in Perseus NGC 884 / NGC 869


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So last night in the cold after a fairly disappointing session trying to find various things with little luck I decided to just pan around the sky looking for interesting things. When I was panning around Cassiopeia (after finding a suitable stool to kneel on due to the scope angle!) I just stumbled across the Perseus Double Cluster (NGC 884 / NGC 869).

It was an absolute gem and really made the whole night!

I tried a few different EP on it and found the best view was with the 12mm which was able to fit both of the core of both clusters comfortably though they were nice and bright enough to go down to 8mm to look at each separately in more detail.

How I have never tried these before I don't know especially as they are something my refractor actually gives wow views for rather than the frustrations of deep fuzzys and tight doubles :) 

Double Cluster in Perseus

Edited by wibblefish
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  • wibblefish changed the title to Double Cluster in Perseus NGC 884 / NGC 869
5 minutes ago, Raph-in-the-sky said:

With a refractor open clusters are really great targets. If you haven't already, try and have a look at the pleiades, the hyades, the beehive cluster, the ET cluster...

I haven't heard of the ET cluster but I have tried the others (oddly the beehive took me a few goes to find!) will add it to the list thank you for the suggestion!

Edited by wibblefish
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11 minutes ago, Goldenmole said:

Wow mate that sounds really cool! Thank you for giving me a target for tonight!

No problems, I honestly hesitated about posting as I figured most people would know about this one / have seen it. I had heard of it but why I hadn't tried to locate it I don't actually know still another one off my list :D

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3 minutes ago, wibblefish said:

I haven't heard of the ET cluster but I have tried the others (oddly the beehive took me a few goes to find!) will add it to the list thank you for the suggestion!

ET cluster is NGC 457 in Cassioppiae... you'll understand the name once you see it. One of my favorite open clusters.

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2 minutes ago, Raph-in-the-sky said:

ET cluster is NGC 457 in Cassioppiae... you'll understand the name once you see it. One of my favorite open clusters.

That's beautiful, will have a look at that tonight, conditions permitting.  My wife is a big fan of open clusters, so I'm sure she will really appreciate it.

Thanks for sharing.

Pete

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19 minutes ago, Raph-in-the-sky said:

you'll understand the name once you see it

Another nice target in this category is NGC 2169 😉.

The double cluster is lovely, I almost always visit the pair when I'm out with my binoculars. They're visibile to the naked eye as a dim patch of light from my location: I tend to point them out to uninformed stargazers to illustrate that there's more to see than just stars with the naked eye.

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For even modest binoculars the Double Cluster is a great starter along with the Beehive, Hyades and Pleiades as others mention. Likewise the Alpha Persei star cloud. East of Cassiopeia is Kemble's Cascade, which needs a very wide view, and is nice to follow from end to end. With practice It can be found with binoculars by extending a line from Algol through Mirfak,Alpha Pers.

With a telescope I have lately come to appreciate NGC 7789 (Cass) known as the the Caroline Rose cluster, rich and compact. So many accessible objects outside the Messier list to enjoy, even in poor skies!

Edited by Stephenstargazer
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Thanks for the suggestions! I am adding them to my targets list :D Sadly looking at my weather app we are back to snow and fully cloud for the next week but you never know maybe it will change.

Edited by wibblefish
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Lots of nice open clusters in Auriga, too. M35, 36, 37, 38. Easy to find, even with binos.

One of my faves is the memorably named NGC 1664. The "Kite Cluster". I think it looks like a sting ray:

image.png.b720f0d605928a721a1d81370e8ebd1a.png

 

 

 

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The double cluster (sometimes known as the "Sword Handle") is a really splendid target even in small apertures and binoculars. I can just about see them with the naked eye here on a decent night but some magnification is what brings out their true nature and beauty.

One of my favorites for showing at outreach events - always gets a few gasps :smiley:

Edited by John
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One of my favourite open clusters is M46, as good at this time of year as it gets. The really cool thing is the planetary nebula in the foreground (ngc 2438). Well worth a look 🙂

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If you can get a good view to the south, Orion is loaded with open clusters as well as the namesake nebula.  If you can go low enough in power (15x or lower), Collinder 70 surrounds the belt stars and is quite a surprise if you've only ever looked at those stars at higher powers.  It's a case of you can't see the forest for the trees.

I also like small clusters directly adjacent to the nebula.

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The double cluster still thrills each time for me, the two crimson stars in the middle fascinate. I must’ve spent a good while last night marvelling at it all again. Definitely open cluster season early on in the night for me. I haven’t started out late enough this week to see the beehive though so maybe another month yet for that one.

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Another Double Cluster fan here, it has become one of my “last look round” binocular targets after packing it in with the telescope (along with Pleiades, Beehive, Hyades & Alpha Persei).  I think it’s the dark space separating the 2 clusters that makes them look spectacularly deep-spaceish. 
Great thread this thank you, I am  really enjoying tracking down winter clusters - M67 in Cancer is a good one, lots of red stars and managed to locate M41 south of Sirius earlier in the week, well worth a look when it’s not too murky low down. M35 is at the “foot” of the Castor twin in Gemini & is quite bright + M34  East of Algol has a nice contrasting Orange star among the white-blues. 
+1 on the Auriga clusters too! 
Some new targets for me to aim for in this thread,  just need clear skies...

 

 

Edited by SuburbanMak
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