Jump to content


NGC 497 is making me feel old

  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 Michael Rapp

Michael Rapp


  • *****
  • Posts: 3328
  • Joined: 26 Apr 2004
  • Loc: Dickinson, TX

Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:43 AM

Last night I found NGC 497 for the first time, otherwise known as the ET Cluster.

As I was sketching it, I thought....what a great object for a public night! It's bright, and the form of "ET" is easily discernable.

Then I thought back to last weekend in which the majority of the viewers in my scope were under the age of twenty. ET came out in 1983, which would be at least 10 years before these individuals were born. They probably have never even heard of the movie ET.

But I remember seeing ET in theaters....but that was....gulp....essentially three decades ago.

Ah heck....I'm going to go eat some Resee's Pieces as I wonder why my hair is turning grey.

#2 core


    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1507
  • Joined: 23 Feb 2008
  • Loc: Mostly in Norman, OK

Posted 03 November 2012 - 10:08 AM

Fwiw, before being called ET cluster, it was originally nicknamed the owl cluster ... then the airplane (swept-back wings, so I'd assume 50-60's), then ET, and the latest being Wall.E (2008 movie) - at least that's my chronological understanding ;)

From that point of view, it makes a great conversation/outreach topic on the influence of culture, and there's something for every generation to connect with.

#3 thewheel


    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 53
  • Joined: 01 Jul 2009
  • Loc: Half Mile from Tucson

Posted 03 November 2012 - 01:26 PM


I know because I forgot it at a star party last month!

#4 Michael Rapp

Michael Rapp


  • *****
  • Posts: 3328
  • Joined: 26 Apr 2004
  • Loc: Dickinson, TX

Posted 03 November 2012 - 01:35 PM

457! I guess I really am getting old! :roflmao:

#5 Jim Nelson

Jim Nelson

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 925
  • Joined: 10 May 2005
  • Loc: SE Michigan

Posted 03 November 2012 - 05:33 PM

I always think of it as a Dragonfly.

Oddly enough, Pac-Man is still a widely understood cultural reference. That really surprises me. Not that I would choose the Pac-Man Nebula as an outreach object...

#6 Skylook123



  • *****
  • Posts: 7537
  • Joined: 30 Apr 2005
  • Loc: Tucson, AZ

Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:29 PM

After picking up the ET name for a while, it started getting called Johnny 5 after the robot in Short Circuit - you can see the robot waving and saying "No Disassemble! No Disassemble!" A surprising number of adults get that at my public events.

Some references call it the Kachina Doll cluster as well.

As you look at it, notice where the wings join the body. Near one side (his right arm in my truss dob) is a small knot of a few stars. At a school star party ast year I had a sixth grader say it looked like his heart.

#7 David Pavlich

David Pavlich


  • *****
  • Administrators
  • Posts: 28257
  • Joined: 18 May 2005
  • Loc: Mandeville, LA USA

Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:24 AM

Our club has its largest outreach on 16 November. NGC457 is my default object. Always a crowd pleaser.


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics