The Double Cluster

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The Double Cluster (also known as Caldwell 14) is the common name for the naked-eye open clusters NGC 869 and NGC 884 (sometimes designated h Persei and χ Persei, respectively, but those designations would really apply to both clusters and to a visually nearby star[1]), which are close together in the constellation Perseus. NGC 869 and NGC 884 both lie at a distance of 7500 light years.[2] NGC 869 has a mass of 3700 solar masses and NGC 884 weighs in at 2800 solar masses: based on their individual stars, the clusters are relatively young, both 12.8 million years old.[3] In comparison, the Pleiades have an estimated age ranging from 75 million years to 150 million years. There are more than 300 blue-white super-giant stars in each of the clusters. The clusters are also blue shifted, with NGC 869 approaching Earth at a speed of 39 km/s (24 mi/s) and NGC 884 approaching at a similar speed of 38 km/s (24 mi/s).[4] Their hottest main sequence stars are of spectral type B0.

I copied and pasted statement about The Double Cluster above, from Wikipedia.  I’ve posted this as full size, so if you download it, you should get quite the wallpaper.  Full size is the only way to appreciate this lovely open cluster.  It looks truly beautiful through a 10 inch scope, showing the orange and red stars more predominantly.  I used a Meade 10 inch scope.  It looks so 3 dimensional as to hypnotize the viewer, or pull them into the view.  I was also using 85 degree field $500 eye pieces…

Because of the B O spectral type, I should tell you about OB Runaway Stars.  First off, you need at least 45 stars to qualify as an open cluster.  Because these Giant, hot, blue and white stars will form a dace about each other at times, the more massive star can end up flinging the less massive one entirely out of the system.  You can find the double cluster with the naked eye, just below and to the right of the constellation Perseus, appearing as a small, fuzzy patch of light. A good set of binoculars brings it out quite nicely; predominant in the northern hemisphere through late summer and fall. It’s truly one of the most beautiful open clusters out there…  In the dark… In the night… Far away from the outside of town…  No one will come any closer than that.  No one can hear you,  in the dark…  In the night… WHOOOOOOOOAHAHAHA!

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