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The past month has been dire weather-wise, but I finally managed to get out for a few hours the other night. I looked up NGC663 which is a new one for me. If you haven't given it a go and you like open clusters I recommend it. It's a piece of cake to find being close to some of the bright stars that make up Cassiopeia. It's sometimes called the horseshoe cluster and it has a pretty distinct U shape, although it's dominated by some pairs of bright stars which make it look to me a little like NGC457 (the owl cluster).

Anyway, here's a sketch..... maybe I'll get a chance to get out again some time in Feb if the clouds ever lift :D


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The sketch was based on observation with a 12" scope at powers up to x160. I haven't looked at it with my smaller scope, but it would be interesting to have a go. It's one of those clusters that, if magnification or aperture are not enough to resolve many of the stars, looks like a distinctly 'milky' patch, maybe because its two arms are separated by a marked dark lane that seems to enhance the glow of the cluster even when individual stars can't be seen.

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