spans some seven full moons (about 3.5 degrees) across the
heroic northern constellation of
Just right of center it holds the famous pair of open or galactic
star clusters, h and Chi Perseii.
Also cataloged as
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
the ages of
evidence that they were likely a product of the same
Always a rewarding
sight in binoculars,
the Double Cluster is
even visible to the unaided eye from
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,
also of similar age, distance, and possibly related
to the more famous Double Cluster in Perseus.