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M103 - Almost didn't bother

Nick P

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Just been cruising around Cassiopeia with my wide view eyepiece and picked up M103 a small open cluster, at first view at 47x it looked pretty underwhelming, 3 stars in a line (middle one orange) and not a lot else, in fact I had to triple check to make sure I was looking at the right object!

However I decided to pump the magnification up a bit to 82x and what a difference! the main bright stars were joined by a myriad of fainter stars creating a wonderful jeweled view in the eyepiece matching the beauty of any other cluster I have seen.

I wonder, how often to we fail to appreciate objects because on first sight they don't appear to be that inspiring?

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M103 is a little cracker of a cluster. I viewed and sketched it last September. Counted some 35 - 40 stars that seemed to be members of the cluster. The orange star is nice. I reckon it is the 2nd or 3rd brightest star in there. What I also liked were the two progressively fainter stars right up close to the brightest star. They formed a straight line that pointed into the heart of the cluster.

It always helps to have some decent magnificiation on these smaller clusters. I was up at x140 with my 12". It framed it nicely.

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Weird ... that mirrors my experience of the same cluster last night!

I started off of from Delta Cas three times because I wasn't sure ... thinking "That can't be it ...it's *$*!&!...

I'm sure it was better last year" only on the third (using the 10" Dob & 10mm Radian (120x))

did I just nudge the focus and woah ... out popped all the stars. Made it 20 or so down to 12th Mag or so.

I've been searching out loads of None-Messier clusters (reports posted) and there are quite a few crackers

out there that'll have been sadly neglected. Of course there are others that turn out to be quite dull.


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