This misty cluster shared the same low power field of view as NGC 663 to the south. At 120X, the cluster takes on a triangular shape with several doubles throughout. A bright star marks its southern apex. Of the 58 stars plotted in the sketch, 28 were within what I perceived to be the boundaries of the cluster. A couple of the brighter stars are likely foreground objects. I made the mistake of leaving the eyepiece at an uncomfortable angle, right over one of the tripod legs when I began what turned out to be a 40 minute long sketch. I wasn’t able to slide the chair up to it, so I ended up tip-toeing my way through the last half of the sketch. That was a bit of a bummer.
NGC 654 was discovered by Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel in 1787. According to Catalogue of open cluster parameters from UBV-data. (Loktin+, 1994), the cluster is about 2,422 parsecs distant (7,896 light years). According to Star Clusters and Associations, Selected Data (Alter+ 1970) the distance is 1,600 parsecs (5,216 ly). The cluster is also catalogued as Cr 18, Mel 9, OCL 330, Lund 53, H VII-46, h 145, GC 387.
|Classification||Open Cluster (II 2 r)|
|Position*||Cassiopeia [RA: 01:43:59.4 / Dec: +61:52:58]|
|Date/Time||October 21, 2006 – 09:45 PM
(October 22, 2006 – 04:45 UT)
|Observing Loc.||Cinder Hills Overlook, Sunset Crater National Monument, AZ|
|Instrument||Orion SVP 6LT Reflector (150 mm dia./1200 mm F/L)|
|Eyepieces/Mag.||10 mm (120X)|
|Transparency||Mag 6.8+ NELM|
*Based on published data.