Selected Observations - Page 3


Open Clusters of Cassiopeia - Part I


Instrument: Celestron C-8

Date & Time: 12/8/96 between 8-9:30 PM

Location: Near Century, FL

Conditions: Cold, Clear, Low Light Pollution

It was early December, 1996, and I was in a cow field north of Pensacola near Century, FL. The field is owned by the brother-in-law of an observing friend of mine, David Floyd. We had a very successful night of galaxy hunting I suggested picking off a few of the open clusters in Cassiopeia, I was trying to get all of the Herschel List objects in Cas and pick up some of the sights in the chapter on Cas in Alan McRobert's book, Star-Hopping for Backyard Astronomers. Here are my observations:

Starting with the first item on the Herschel list...

NGC 129 - Large, fairly sparse open cluster with bright stars, need low power, wide field view at 50x

Trying to line up on my next target, NGC 136, a very small cluster that I didn't find that night, I lost grip on the scope while it was unlocked and slipped over to a big bright cluster to the west and found...

NGC 7789 - Very large, very, very rich cluster with fairly bright stars, very nice at 50x

I then moved up to...

NGC 7790 - Pretty rich with fairly dim stars, in the same field as NGC 7789

I also spotted a some Non-Hershel clusters in the vicinity....

NGC 7788 - Sparse, fairly bright stars, best at 50x with NGC 7790 in the field of view

I had to use the SkyMap program to identify the last two of these clusters...

H 21 - Near NGC 7788, a compact, fairly rich clump between two bright stars

King 1 - Near H21, somewhat smaller and not as rich, best at 50x

After this fine group, I went back to Herschel clusters, although I skipped a few...

NGC 381 - Medium sized cluster at 50x, fairly rich with dim stars, hard to distinguish from the rich Milky Way background at first

and found my favorite of the night, which Alan McRobert calls the The E.T. Cluster...

NGC 457 - Very nice, fairly sparse cluster with bright stars, the two brightest, yellow and pale blue, are the eyes of ET with two E-W lines of stars forming the outstretched arms, the main part of the cluster forms the body

and its close neighbor...

NGC 436 - Smaller and denser than NGC 457, but dimmer, a jagged line of stars leads up to NGC 457

It was starting to get late (since we both had to get up for work the next morning), so we decided to stop after that for the night. There are still a lot of open clusters in Cas on the list that I still need to get, but I still haven't gotten back to it yet. Maybe soon....


For more information on the Herschel List or any of the other Astronomical League Observing Clubs... The AL Home Page


Back to my... Observations Index Page or my... Home Page or... My Hale-Bopp Observations