Perseus Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884)

Globulars or Open, clusters of stars can be neat viewing.
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Christopher K.
Posts: 4401
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Perseus Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884)

Post by Christopher K. » October 17th, 2014, 10:14 pm

Easily one of the most evocative features in the dark unaided-eye sky is the so-called Double Cluster in Perseus. I have seen them from the grounds of Hodges Gardens State Park, and they are not soon forgotten. At magnitude 5.3 and 4.4 respectively, a truly dark sky is needed to see both together.

The 23 January APOD shows the Double Cluster courtesy Ph.D. student Fabian Neyer...
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140123.html

Christopher K.
Posts: 4401
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Perseus Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884)

Post by Christopher K. » September 7th, 2015, 5:26 pm

The PDC is well-placed in the northeast after dark--light pollution not withstanding. Tonight until Thursday night may be prime for this nice sight. I don't know if it can be seen from HRPO with a binocular but I will test that tonight.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4401
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Perseus Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884)

Post by Christopher K. » September 8th, 2015, 11:25 pm

I couldn't test last night as I was taking SQM measurements. But around 11pm I took out one of the 10x Bushnells, and all I can say is the Baton Rouge light dome does a number on this beauty. It was only at thirty degrees; binocular acquisition was extremely difficult to impossible. Following the trail of relatively bright Perseus stars upward was easier than following Cassiopeia's aim downward. I knew I was seeing the clusters--there was 9 Persei to the right--but it was a very washed-out view. It would be informative if another BRAS member tried within the next couple of nights from a different location in the area. Would getting the light dome just a little out of the way make a big difference?

Christopher K.
Posts: 4401
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Perseus Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884)

Post by Christopher K. » October 18th, 2015, 8:24 pm

Okay, I've changed my mind. Using Cassiopeia's stars is easy, too! Just go from Gamma Cassiopeiae (middle star of the "W", B-class, magnitude 2.1) to Ruchbach (mag 2.6). Then staying at that same angle go twice the distance further along, and there is the Double Cluster. I did it that way Wednesday night at about 10pm. I'll say it again, it sure is washed out in the northern exposure!

Below are the times during which the PDC culminates at sixty-three degrees in the Baton Rouge sky...
28 August = 4:59am
1 September = 4:43am
5 September = 4:27am
9 September = 4:12am
13 September = 3:56am
17 September = 3:40am
21 September = 3:24am
25 September = 3:09am
29 September = 2:53am
3 October = 2:37am
7 October = 2:21am
11 October = 2:06am
15 October = 1:50am
19 October = 1:34am
23 October = 1:19am
27 October = 1:03am
31 October = 12:47am
Times above are Daylight. Times below are Standard.
4 November = 11:27pm
8 November = 11:12pm
12 November = 10:56pm
16 November = 10:40pm
20 November = 10:25pm
24 November = 10:09pm
28 November = 9:53pm
2 December = 9:37pm
6 December = 9:22pm
10 December = 9:06pm
14 December = 8:50pm
18 December = 8:34pm
22 December = 8:19pm
26 December = 8:03pm
30 December = 7:47pm
3 January = 7:32pm
7 January = 7:16pm
11 January = 7:00pm

Christopher K.
Posts: 4401
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Perseus Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884)

Post by Christopher K. » January 13th, 2016, 9:50 pm

On 3 December at 7:10pm I hunted down the PDC with a Bushnell 10x. There's no mistaking the locale--the nearby squashed ring of stars is unmistakable. Even the clusters themselves were obvious in that sky.

Christopher K.
Posts: 4401
Joined: October 12th, 2009, 3:28 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Re: Perseus Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884)

Post by Christopher K. » February 6th, 2018, 3:44 pm

Culmination times are over until the end of August, but the PDC can still be seen for the next two weeks at ~7:30pm CST in the northwest, at least fifty degrees up.

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