FUZZY SPOT, November 1998, Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia is a well known fall constellation.  Usually described as an M, W, or 3, depending on it’s orientation in the sky, it is one of the easiest constellations to see, even in the bright city lights.

Cassiopeia, the Queen of Ethiopia, was very proud of her daughter Andromeda and boasted that she was more beautiful than the sea nymphs.  This infuriated Poseidon and he vowed to get revenge by sending the sea monster to get Andromeda.  Andromeda was rescued by the great Perseus who slew the sea monster.

The Milky Way runs through Cassiopeia, therefore the constellation is rich with open clusters and nebulosity.  Don’t miss the few nearby galaxies in the constellation either.

        NGC 129 (00h29.9 +60 14) This open cluster is very large, pretty bright, pretty rich, but not very condensed.  There is a bright star to S of cluster, just N of this star is a nice clump of 7 fairly bright stars, then further N, the cluster fans out to a whole bunch of loose stars.  There are 4 levels of stars with about 45 stars counted.  The cluster forms a “V” shape pointing to bright star.

        NGC 185 (00h39.0 +48 20) Here is a galaxy that is pretty bright, pretty large, slightly brighter in middle.  The halo is somewhat faint, using averted vision makes it come out.  There is a possible elongation N/S and perhaps somewhat of a darkening on E side.  I felt that this was the best of the 3 galaxies in this area of Cassiopeia.  This galaxy is a companion to the great Andromeda Galaxy.

        NGC 278 (00h52.0 +47 33) One of the other galaxies, this one is pretty small, somewhat faint, brighter in middle, with no elongation noted.  There is a fairly bright star to NNW, but other than this, there was no detail seen.

        NGC 281 (00h52.8 +56 37) This nebula includes open cluster IC-1590.  At 100X, the central star is a nice triple, and there are about 10 stars in middle which is presumably the cluster.  The nebula responds quite well to the UHC filter, and is very large and fairly bright around the central star.  On the S is a dark area almost forming a V.  Some mottling and dark lanes were seen throughout the nebula.  There is lots of detail in this nebula, the NE side fades away pretty gradually, and to the E of cluster is a dark lane running N/S.

        NGC 436 (01h15.6 +58 49) This cluster is barely resolvable at 70X, and is located just off of feet of Owl Cluster (NGC 457). At 100X, it is pretty small, somewhat faint, with 13 or 14 stars seen in 3 levels, and a possible granular haze in middle.

        NGC 457 (01h19.1 +58 20) The Owl Cluster or Kachina Cluster is an absolute wow!  The bright stars are white/yellow and white/blue.  There are 5 levels of stars and another level just on the edge of resolution.  I counted 76 stars plus many more using averted vision, not counting the ‘feet’ area.  The cluster is very bright, pretty big, pretty well condensed, and elongated WNW/ESE.

        NGC 559 (01h29.5 +63 18) Here is a fairly small and pretty faint cluster.  There are 3 bright stars over a layer of fainter stars, which is sitting on some unresolvable but very granular haze.  Using averted vision and moving scope makes much of the haze stand out.  About 20 stars are seen with averted vision, and many others pop out with the seeing.

        NGC 659 (01h44.2 +60 42) Another open cluster which I saw as pretty bright, pretty small, and fairly condensed.  The center contains a ringlet of stars with one double star.  There are 3 levels of stars, on the SW is 2 bright stars and on the E is another bright star.  I counted about 14 stars total plus a few more in the haze which popped out with seeing.

        NGC 663 (01h46.0 +61 15) This neighbor to NGC 659 is very large, bright, has 4 layers of stars including some nice double stars.  There are many groupings of 2 and 3 stars.  I counted about 45 stars not including stragglers.  663 and 659 remind me of M-35 and 2158 in Gemini.

        NGC 1027 (02h42.7 +61 33) This cluster on the far eastern end of the constellation is bright, very large, very rich, and not condensed.  It is elongated NW/SE with a “bump” on NE end.  There is a very bright star in the middle with 4 levels of stars and at least 100 stars counted.  This is a neat cluster, but is hard to get to.

        NGC 7654 (23h24.2 +61 35) This cluster is M-52.  For some reason, I tend to forget about this very glorious cluster.  At 100X it is very large, very bright, and very rich.  On the SW is a very bright star pair.  I counted 94 stars plus a faint group of about 25 stars to the E.

        NGC 7789 (23h57.0 +56 44) On W end of the constellation, this cluster is very large, somewhat faint, very rich, and very compressed.  There are 3 levels of stars over an extremely granular haze that pops out with averted vision and good seeing.  I counted about 75 stars plus at least another 50 threshold stars.  Notice the several voids in cluster.

Herschel 400 Objects
129, 136, 185, 225, 278, 381, 436, 457, 559, 637, 654, 659, 663, 1027, 7789, 7790
SAC’s 110 Best of the NGC Objects
185, 281, 457, 663, 7789