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Binocular Icon 54: A wide view of 'h and Chi' Per.

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#1 rodelaet



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Posted 02 February 2009 - 04:30 PM

There is this one particular field of view with such a immense beauty that it alone deserves to be the single reason to buy a common pair of binoculars. It is the wide field encompassing the double cluster, NGC 869 and NGC 884 in Perseus. But not in the way that you see it with a telescope. The low power view of a pair of binoculars will allow you to follow a chain of stars that emerges from the double cluster and crosses the border of Cassiopeia to reach the large and mighty open cluster, Stock 2, a few degrees N of the double cluster. Count to that the faint glow of NGC 957 and you have one of the most attractive views of the heavens. The double cluster is one of the largest and brightest open clusters of our galaxy. Compared to NGC 869 and NGC 884, which are about 7.500 l-y away, Stock 2 is a poor cluster. Stock 2 is in fact a foreground object at a distance of 1000 l-y. It appears large, only because it is so nearby. NGC 957, at a distance of 3.300 l-y, is a small patch of light at one and a half degree E of the double cluster. This beautiful view is reserved for the binocular observer only.

Site : Bekkevoort, Belgium ( 51° N )
Date : December 29, 2008
Time : around 18.00UT
Binoculars : Bresser Spezial-Jagd 8x56
FOV: 5.9°
Filter : none
Mount : Trico Machine Sky Window
Seeing : 3/5
Transp. : 3/5
Sky brightness : 19.38 magnitudes per square arc second near zenith (SQM reading).
Nelm: 5.1
Sketch Orientation: N up, W right.
Digital sketch made with Corel Paint Shop Pro X2, based on a raw pencil sketch.

(Note: if the sketch does look too dark on your monitor, try to darken the room.)

Attached Files

#2 Tom and Beth

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 06:05 PM

While I can't appreciate nor use binoculars, observing this region again with an equivalent wide field scope will be a treat tonight.

#3 JayinUT


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Posted 02 February 2009 - 06:26 PM

Truly amazing the details of the two clusters and your chain of stars. One aspect of your sketch(es) I really enjoy is how you vary the brightness of stars, giving that view of looking through an eye piece. I can actually use various vision points and pick up new things when I look at the image. Again, fantastic job and thanks for posting.

#4 Special Ed

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 09:56 AM


Outstanding work! Those 8x56 binoculars really take in a lot of sky. :cool:

#5 Tommy5



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Posted 03 February 2009 - 11:02 PM

Wow fantastic sketch of the best open cluster in the northern skies, thanks again for posting.

#6 frank5817



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Posted 03 February 2009 - 11:33 PM


Beautiful and misty. Love this one. I have never taken this in the way you have captured it in wide field. Great sketch. :bow: :rainbow: :bow: :cool:

Frank :)

#7 rodelaet



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Posted 04 February 2009 - 03:46 PM

Thanks for the kind and warm compliments, guys! :D

This only is the view from my backyard.

The view from a really dark site is truly breathtaking, and very demanding to sketch.

#8 GlennLeDrew


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Posted 07 February 2009 - 04:15 PM

Imagine just how much more spectacular the Double Cluster would be if not for the significant reddening and dimming by intervening interstellar dust. Where the intrinsic colours of the brighter O- and B-type stars is decidedly bluish, reddening yellows the colours to a more neutral whitish. And the total visual extinction is 1.5 magnitudes, or a factor of four in brightness!

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