FUZZY SPOT, November 2000, Cepheus
Cepheus is a large, though not very prominent, north circumpolar constellation. The house shape is obvious once you see it even though it is lying on its side during this season.
Cepheus is most famous for its delta star which is the
prototype for Cephid variables. These variable stars are
useful as "standard candles" for determining distances
as the intrinsic brightness of the star is related to its
period. Also in Cepheus is the beautiful red star, Mu,
is also known as Herschel's Garnet Star.
Sitting in the Autumn Milky Way, this constellation abounds with open clusters. All other types of objects are found here with the exception of globular clusters.
NGC 40 (00h13.0 +72 32) We start this month with a planetary nebula. At 140X it is somewhat small, somewhat bright, and contains a very bright central star. Using the UHC filter brings out the nebula, and may show some elongation E/W with dark spots on the N and S. Using averted vision makes it more pronounced.
NGC 188 (00h44.4 +85 20) This is one of the oldest open clusters in our Milky Way visible in amateur equipment. At 70X, it is easy to find, somewhat faint, and fairly condensed. There are 3 layers of stars with a count of about 40 stars over a granular haze.
NGC 6939 (20 31.4 +60 38) Another open cluster, this one is somewhat faint and pretty big. The brightest stars form a "V" shape with a string of 5 stars on SW side and a lot of haze in background which I suspect are unresolved stars. A total of about 20 stars were seen over a lot of granular haze, with many stars popping out when averted vision was used.
NGC 6946 (20h34.8 +60 09) This galaxy is on the Cygnus/Cepheus border. I like to include it in Cepheus because it forms a nice pair with NGC 6939. It is very large, pretty faint with a slightly brighter center which fades smoothly into the halo. Using averted vision makes the halo stand out a little. I suspected seeing a counter-clockwise spiral structure.
NGC 7129 (21h41.3 +66 06) This open cluster/nebula object was seen as a grouping of 4 bright stars with some additional fainter star. A fairly faint nebulosity was seen around the stars. Using the UHC filter does not help bring out the nebulosity at all.
NGC 7142 (21h45.9
+65 48) This nicely shaped open cluster is fairly large, somewhat
faint with 2 levels of stars over some haze which resolves a
little when averted vision is used. There are 2 bright
stars to W and a bright star to the N. I counted 35 stars
using direct vision.
NGC 7160 (21h53.7 +62 36) Here we have another open cluster, very bright, pretty small, and pretty poor. There is a bright double star colored white and blue/white with about 15-20 fainter stars around the double. I saw a total of 25 stars in 3 levels. Using averted vision doesn't bring out many more stars. There is a bright star to W.
NGC 7380 (22h47.0 +58 06) This triangular shaped open cluster is pretty bright and pretty big. Sitting in a nice field of stars, I counted 25 stars and by using averted vision, many more popped out. There is a bright star on SW end with faint companion and a nice double star off of the same point of the triangle. Finally, there is another bright star some distance out from the double.
NGC 7419 (22h54.3 +60 50) Somewhat faint, somewhat small, pretty poor, and a little condensed describes this open cluster as seen in the 20" scope. It is elongated WNW/ESE, contains about 20 stars in 2 levels with some possible granular haze. There is a bright star nearby which interferes slightly.
NGC 7510 (23h11.5 +60 34) This is a nice cluster, another one which is triangular in shape. It is pretty bright, somewhat rich, and somewhat small. There are 3 levels of stars with 14 stars counted over some haze. Using averted vision resolves a few more stars. There is a bright star on ENE end with 2 trails of stars leading away from bright star to the SW.
NGC 7538 (23h14.2 +61 29) The last object is a faint nebula. I observed it in the 20" scope using an O-III filter as fairly bright, somewhat large, elongated slightly E/W 2:1, and with 3 stars involved. With direct vision, the nebula is fairly even, fading out evenly from the stars. Using averted vision brings out a small amount of detail and a tad bit of mottling.
Herschel 400 Objects
40, 6939, 6946, 7142, 7160, 7380, 7510
SAC's 110 Best of the NGC Objects
40, 6939, 6946, 7129