NGC 457 – Open Cluster – Cassiopeia – The E.T. Cluster

NGC 457 - The E

The following Image:  Five minute exposure using an 8-inch f/7 reflector by Dr. James Dire of Hawaii

NGC457

Date: January 4th 2013

NELM 5.0 

Location:  Backyard with moderate light pollution

Telescope: 10-inch f/4.5 reflector

Eyepiece:  11 mm: 104x / FOV 0.79 degrees

Field Notes:  Easily seen through a 50 mm finder, appearing as a nebulous patch with Phi 1,2 being separated. When observed with the 10-inch at 104x this cluster is spectacular, with many bright, mostly white stars.  The bright star Phi 1 at magnitude 5.0 appears as yellowish, and Phi 2, mostly white.  I can count at least 60 stars, but after this, the fainter members become difficult to see.  There is a beautiful red star at magnitude 8.6 (V466 CAS) toward the center of the cluster which is very obvious, and to me, it appears as a true red star.  In photographs this star is presented as a brilliant orange.  There is a very nice double star (9-10M) with both being white, that really stands out in the western edge.  The sketch was made using a No. 2 pencil, an eraser, and a blank 5 x 8 notecard.  I inverted the colors using my scanner.  Tomm Lorenzin (yes, two m’s) author of “1000+ The Amateur Astronomers Field Guide to Deep-Sky Observing” coined the name “The E.T. Cluster” after the character in “The Extra-Terrestial.”

Roger Ivester: January 4th 2013

Observing field notes:  I could see the two brighter stars known as the eyes very easily using the 10-inch reflector.  The cluster does resemble a critter of sorts, and I think that it might indeed look like the E.T. character.  Roger asked me if I could see color in any of the cluster members.  Most of the stars appear white, without any color contrast at all.  It was only after he pointed out the fainter red star that I could see this one, however, it appeared as more of a rust to me.  I noticed on my own, the prominent double star in the belt of the creature.  Both stars of this double are white, with an easy separation at the 104x magnification.  This bright and large open cluster is very interesting, but now I’m anxious to go to galaxies and nebulae.

Debbie Ivester:  04-January-13

To see the complete Observers Challenge report:  DECEMBER 2012 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE – NGC-457

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