Tag Archives: NGC 869

Double Cluster in Perseus, NGC 869 and NGC 884

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NGC 869 and NGC 884 both lie at a distance of 7500 light years. NGC 869 has a mass of 3700 solar masses and NGC 884 weighs in at 2800 solar masses; however, later research has shown both clusters are surrounded with a very extensive halo of stars, with a total mass for the complex of at least 20,000 solar masses. Based on their individual stars, the clusters are relatively young, both 12.8 million years old. 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 blueshifted, 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). Their hottest main sequence stars are of spectral type B0.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Vixen ED80SF
Imaging cameras: Canon 550D
Mounts: CELESTRON CG5-GT
Guiding telescopes or lenses: Vixen Finderscope 9×50
Guiding cameras: Orion StarShoot AutoGuider
Focal reducers: Orion Field Flattener for Short Refractors
Software: PHD Guiding, PixInsight, BinaryRivers BackyardEOS

Author: Cory Schmitz
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI
21 June 2014

Double Cluster in Perseus

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Image Credit & Copyright: Fabian Neyer
Explanation: This lovely starfield spans some seven full moons (about 3.5 degrees) across the heroic northern constellation of Perseus. Just right of center it holds the famous pair of open or galactic star clusters, h and Chi Perseii. Also cataloged as NGC 869 (right) and NGC 884, both clusters are about 7,000 light-years away and contain stars much younger and hotter than the Sun. Separated by only a few hundred light-years, the clusters are both 13 million years young based on the ages of their individual stars, evidence that they were likely a product of the same star-forming region. Always a rewarding sight in binoculars, the Double Cluster is even visible to the unaided eye from dark locations. Not seen in binoculars though, and not often depicted in telescopic images of the region are faint clouds of reddish ionized hydrogen gas found throughout this remarkable cosmic skyscape. A color composite, the image includes narrowband data to enhance emission from the hydrogen clouds. Visible toward the upper left of the wide field of view is another, smaller open star cluster, NGC 957, also of similar age, distance, and possibly related to the more famous Double Cluster in Perseus.

NASA APOD 23-Jan-2014