NGC 7044 Sketch and Notes – Open Cluster In Cygnus

My first observation of NGC 7044 came in September 1994. I was very surprised how difficult this cluster was to locate and see. The 5.2 magnitude is very deceptive to say the least. I was using a 10-inch reflector and observing from my moderately light polluted backyard in the foothills of western North Carolina.  This cluster proved to be very difficult indeed.  I continued to check my star chart to insure that I was looking at the correct location.  The cluster finally came into view at a magnification of 114x.  When increasing the magnification to 250x, I was able to see a faint sparkling of very faint stars, with direct vision, but not constantly, and averted vision presented the best view.  The cluster appeared as a sprinkling of tiny diamonds in the bottom of a velvet bag…surprisingly beautiful!    

I noted five or more brighter stars superimposed over the fainter members…possibly foreground stars?  A pair of faint unequal stars are located on the NE edge of the cluster.

During the months of September and October 2013, I made over five observations from different locations and under varying conditions.  Using the same 10-inch reflector as 1994, this cluster seemed almost invisible, even from a dark site.  During moments of steady sky, at a magnification of 208x, a sudden sprinkling of very faint stars appeared, but again, not constant.   

It should be noted that during two of my most recent observing sessions, with an average naked-eye limiting magnitude of about 5.2, the cluster could not be seen.   

The following sketch was made using a No. 2 pencil, and a blank 5 x 8 note card, with the colors being inverted using a scanner.  Please note:  The sketch presents the cluster quite a bit brighter than could be seen visually.  

NGC 7044 OC Cygnus

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