Riding the rush of just finishing a sketch of M17, I considered looking for the “Owl Cluster”. However, I couldn’t recall the designation, so I went after this beautiful cluster instead. The shape of the cluster seemed to be divided into 4 main clumps arranged north, south, east and west. The north clump was the largest and contained two bright stars at its northern end. The eastern-most of those 2 stars was a close, uneven double itself. About 108 stars are plotted in the sketch, with about 60 residing in the general vicinity of the cluster.
NGC 663 is an open cluster that was discovered by Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel in 1787. According to Catalogue of open cluster parameters from UBV-data. (Loktin+, 1994), the cluster is 2,284 parsecs distant (7,446 light years). This agrees well with Star Clusters and Associations, Selected Data (Alter+ 1970) which lists 2,200 parsecs (7,172 ly). The cluster is also catalogued as Cr 20, Mel 11, OCL 333, Lund 55, H VI-31, GC 392.
|Classification||Open Cluster (II 3 r)|
|Position*||Cassiopeia [RA: 01:46:16 / Dec: +61:13:06]|
|Date/Time||August 28, 2006 – 01:40 AM
(August 28, 2006 – 08:40 UT)
|Observing Loc.||Anderson Mesa, AZ|
|Instrument||Orion SVP 6LT Reflector (150 mm dia./1200 mm F/L)|
|Eyepieces/Mag.||10 mm (120X)|
|Conditions||Clear, Calm, 50Â°F|
|Transparency||Mag 6.8+ NELM|
*Based on published data.