Cassiopeia Cornucopia — Pretty Little Clusters All in a Row

Open clusters in Cassiopeia
A compact row of star clusters extends for two.5° beginning 2° northwest of Beta (β) Cassiopeiae (Caph). They embody objects from the NGC (abbreviated N), Berkeley (Be), Harvard (H), King (Ok), Teutsch (Teu), Frolov, and Stock (St) catalogs. The faint supernova remnant CTB 1 and emission nebula Sh 2-165 additionally seem in the neighborhood.
DSS2 / Aladin Sky Atlas

I get pleasure from manually attempting to find deep-sky objects regardless of the place they’re in the sky, from star-starved Camelopardalis to easy-peasy Sagittarius with its fistfuls of information stars. But given the selection, I’ll fortunately take the trail of least resistance. Wouldn’t it’s good to simply to level your telescope at a cluster or nebula and effortlessly slide to 6 or seven extra with simply the push of a finger? Well, you’ll be able to.

Pathway to the mini Cassiopeia clusters
Start your open-cluster-hop simply off the west finish of Cassiopeia, now effectively positioned in the northeastern sky at dusk. North is up and stars are proven to magnitude 8.
Stellarium with additions by Bob King

Just 2° northwest of Beta (β) Cassiopeiae stretches a outstanding, compact row of eight small open clusters in the space of two.5°. While not a geometrically good line it is shut sufficient that a easy push takes you from one group to the following. I can simply match 4 of those starry splashes in a single 1° area of view. Together they make for a pleasant evening of observing and a probability to expertise the fecundity of the northern Milky Way earlier than winter’s chilly chunk.

I’ve additionally included a ninth cluster a brief distance off the principle path as a result of it was just too attention-grabbing to go up. Most of those objects will present effectively in an 8-inch telescope (and several other in smaller devices) beneath good skies. I used a 15-inch Dob for my observations. Starting at 2nd-magnitude Caph, I star-hopped to a pair of Sixth-magnitude stars, starting my run at Berkeley 58 and heading northwest. All have been seen proper off the bat utilizing a magnification of 64×.

Name R.A. Dec. Mag. Dia. # stars
Berkeley 58 00h 00.2m +60° 56.5′ 9.7 5.0′ 39
NGC 7790 23h 58.4m +61° 12.5′ 8.5 5.0′ 134
NGC 7788 23h 56.7m +61° 24.0′ 9.4 4.0′ 20
Frolov 1 23h 57.5m +61° 37.4′ 9.2 ~5.0′ 26
Harvard 21 23h 54.3m +61° 43.7′ 9.0 3.0′ 6
King 12 23h 53.0m +61° 57.0′ 9.0 3.0′ 15
King 21 23h 49.9m +62° 42.0′ 9.6 4.0′ 20
Teutsch 23 23h 47.9m +62° 59.8′ ~9.0 1.8′ ~10
Stock 17 23h 43.8m +62° 09.6′ ~9.5 1.0′ ~15
Information for this desk derives from Star Clusters by Brent Archinal and Steven Hynes. Where information was missing, approximations are my very own.

Let’s dive in!

Cluster quad — NGC 7788, 7789, Frolov 1 and Be 58
All 4 of those treasures match contained in the 1° area of view of my 64× eyepiece. Each cluster has its personal character, however NGC 7788 and NGC 7790 are notably wealthy and brilliant.
William Maxwell

Berkeley 58 — A reasonably wealthy cluster of largely Thirteenth-magnitude and fainter stars with an intriguing, misty look. It stands out effectively regardless of its weakly concentrated core. The group is elongated northeast-southwest with a form that jogs my memory of a bouquet of flowers.

NGC 7790 — Beautiful! A small, wealthy cluster elongated east-west and glowing with stars of tenth magnitude and fainter. It stands out boldly in the sector of view, with its brightest member — tinged faintly red — on the cluster’s western edge. A unfastened assortment of extra luminous stars dominates the cluster’s western half. Fainter, extra quite a few stars in the jap half give the thing a lopsided look. Using averted imaginative and prescient and 142×, I detect brief, curved strings of suns inside this fainter portion that give it a splashy look.

NGC 7788 — A gem you should add to your cluster keepsakes. Despite having a smaller measurement and decrease star rely than its neighbor NGC 7790, it is endowed with a bigger variety of brilliant members, they usually’re tightly packed collectively in the type of a lizard’s foot. A magnitude-9.2 star shines near the cluster’s middle. Enjoy at low magnification first, then use average energy to raised recognize the patterned core.

Beyond the NGC

Milky Way schematic Perseus Arm
This artist’s impression reveals the construction of the Milky Way, together with the situation of the spiral arms and different parts such because the central bar. Much of Cassiopeia provides a “window” into the Perseus Arm, the following spiral arm out from our personal. Our featured objects are discovered inside the Perseus Arm or between it and the Orion Spur at distances starting from 6,860 light-years (King 21) to 12,100 light-years (Berkeley 58).
NASA / JPL-Caltech / ESO / R. Hurt

Frolov 1 — A loosely sure group prolonged north-south. Its brightest members hint a looping determine that resembles a mirror picture of the constellation Scorpius. Although star-poor and unconcentrated I can readily distinguish it from random background stars.

Harvard 21 — Sparse and unconcentrated. I see 5 Twelfth-magnitude stars organized in two brief arcs together with a smattering of fainter potential cluster members in the neighborhood.

King 12 — Gorgeous, compact pile of suns! A good, equal double star with a separation of ~3″ dominates the cluster’s middle. A second fainter, shut double lies nearly due north of this pair — good surprises bundled inside a fairly parcel. King 12, together with NGC 7788 and NGC 7790, are all shut to one another in the sky and have comparable younger ages. This suggests that they have been all born across the similar time inside the similar big molecular cloud.

King 21 and Teutsch 23 clusters
Obscure however every oddly compelling, open clusters King 21 and Teutsch 23 are seen in the identical low-magnification area of view.
DSS2 / Aladin Sky Atlas

King 21 — Two brighter stars (magnitudes 10.8 and 11.7) stand out in the middle of a haze of fainter members that resembles a cloud of tiny gnats. The mist simply resolves at 142× into a fairly, wealthy halo of similar-magnitude stars prolonged north-south. The 11.7-magnitude star is a shut, unequal pair with a separation of ~4″. A stunning object all in all.

Teutsch 23 — This tiny, compact cluster boasts some 10 suns of magnitude 12 and fainter, two of that are neat doubles when seen at 150× and better. Neither brilliant nor wealthy, its teeny-weeniness makes it stand out simply the identical. An 8.4-magnitude star shines simply 1.6′ south of the thing. Teutsch 23 is a latest addition to the Milky Way’s household, showing on a list of likely new open clusters in the early 2000s.

Stock 17 swarm
Stock 17 is diminutive ball of stars packed tightly round its brightest member.
PanSTARRS / DR1, Aladin Sky Atlas

Stock 17 — One of 24 open clusters compiled by Jürgen Stock in the early Nineteen Fifties. I included this out-of-the-way clutch due to its distinctive look. You’ll discover it 35′ west of the 5.6-magnitude star 6 Cassiopeiae.

At first you will see solely its brightest member, an 8.5-magnitude star surrounded by a suspicious, grainy glow. But should you improve the magnification to round 200× and use averted imaginative and prescient, a dense sprinkle of fainter stars materializes, huddled near the luminary. Several of the stars align to create a pair of “arms” prolonged in welcome.


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