Saturday, January 14, 2012

NGC 869 under perfect seeing

I like visiting the double cluster when visible in the night winter sky. Both clusters are roughly circular, one having a slightly brighter and more condensed core than the other looser one, and they are magnificent under the low power of an 8" SCT. I usually spend quite a bit of time savouring the complexity and beauty of these two clusters and switching off with a mental photograph of this celestial wonder.

Tonight I decided to use all the observation time available to sketch the looser cluster, since this offered a less of a challenge than the other cluster. The chosen cluster fitted nicely in the field of view of the 25mm plossl. The weather was excellent, with a mild northerly wind and low relative humidity, making the visibility better than the usual. Under a faint red light, I used a 2B pencil to mark the distribution of the bright stars, followed by the fainter ones. At the heart of the cluster I could notice a faint glow which I included in the sketch.

It was difficult to record down the coloured stars, and I decided not to include any colour. It took me around 15 minutes to complete the sketch.

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