PERSEUS
by Steve Coe
13.1" f/5.6 unless noted


NGC 650 and NGC 651 (M 76) Bright, pretty large, elongated 1.8 X 1 at 200X. This planetary nebula is the dimmest Messier object. Mechain found this object in Sept. 1780. It is often called the Barbell or Little Dumbbell because of its' resemblance to M 27 in Vulpecula. M 76 shows some excellent detail at high powers. I must have realized this even as a beginner because I have observed this object with every telescope I have ever owned. In an 8" f/6 at 150X it showed the dual structure that made William Herschel assign it two numbers. On a pretty sharp evening at a dark sky site, the 17.5" f/4.5 at 175X brings out several faint loops of nebulosity beyond the bright central bar. There are several dark lanes within the bright inner section. This is with a UHC filter. Without the filter M 76 is a light grey in color. An 18" f/6 makes the ends of the central part brighter than the middle and the faint outer loops are easy with the filter. This is on a night I rated 8/10 for seeing and transparency at a very dark desert site over 100 miles from Phoenix. Over the years I have been able to see all this detail when I view M 76 with my present scope, a 13" f/5.6, at 200X. The central section is in two parts, almost equal in size. The outer sections are brighter than the middle and the ends are curved. Without the UHC filter the nebula is a very light grey-green.

13" Sun Valley site 6/10 trans, 5/10 seeing. 11X80 just seen, averted vision helps. 100X with 22mm Panoptic--pretty bright, pretty large, rectangular 2X1 in PA 30, thin dark lane down the middle, nice 9th mag yellow star is 15 arcmin East in a rich field of view. The nebula is a very light green color. Going to 330X shows why there are two NGC numbers associated with this object. The view is very different with direct and averted vision. Direct--2 distinct sections with bright areas NE and SW that are never stellar. Averted--almost twice as large with faint outer section, especially to the ENE. The "outer loops" are never held with direct vision. Color is more grey than green. Faint outcrop to south spoils perfect rectangular shape. UHC and 330X bring out faint outer loops somewhat better than 220X. Going to 440X shows faint star on south edge and bright spot on north edge that is stellar about 20% of the time.

Ultimate Star Party, McDonald Obs. Oct. 95, S=6, T=8, 25" f/5--

M 76 in 18" with 9mm; is rectangular shape. There are two stars, one is involved in the nebula, another is right at the edge. The faint outer loop is just seen. There is no dark area between the two parts, but there is a fainter center to the nebulosity.

NGC 744 12 pretty bright members and one 8th mag* on N side at 100X. Granite Wash Mt. S=7 T=9, great night 13" pretty faint, pretty large, cluster with irregular figure, stars 11....13, not much. Counted 23 stars in several pairs, arranged in two parallel lines.

NGC 884 and NGC 869 the Double Cluster is naked eye as a bright spot in the Winter Milky Way from even a somewhat light polluted site. Hipparchus and Ptolemy both mention it in ancient texts. These two clusters are both large, bright, rich and somewhat compressed. The fact that they are both within a 1 degree field of view is fascinating. Using a 38mm Erfle eyepiece which gives about 60X in the 13", I counted 102* in one quadrant of the field of view for a total of at least 400* in the field. The view in the 11X80 finder is spectacular with several orange giant stars sprinkling the clusters, including one almost exactly between the two clusters. There are also several beautiful chains of stars curving into the Milky Way from within this cluster pair.

Sun Valley site 6/10 nite 6" f/6 easy naked eye, elongated 2X1 E-W and somewhat brighter on west end with No optical aid. 10X50 finder 6 stars resolved, elongated dark nebula on west side, obvious gap between double clusters, super view of curved chain of stars that trail off on north side to Stock 2 cluster. Using the 6" and 38mm Erfle--28 stars counted in NGC 869, two of 7th mag, the rest 9.., very bright, very, very large pretty compressed, rich, a dark lane runs NE-SW through the Cl and cuts it into 1/3, 2/3 parts. NGC 884-- 27 stars counted, bright, very large, rich, compressed, several orange stars involved.

Vicksberg Rd. S+T=7 binoculars
8X25--7 stars, pretty compressed, very large
10X50--13 stars, bright, very large, pretty compressed, several stars are yellow and one is light orange
11X80--18 stars, very bright, very large, compressed, 2 stars are orange, several are yellow. With averted vision another 12 stars pop out from the background fuzz, going back and forth from direct to averted vision is fascinating; stars on, stars off.

NGC 957 Pretty bright, pretty large, not rich and not compressed. Nice wide white and blue double on SE side of cluster. 38 stars counted at 100X.

Granite Wash Mt. S=7 T=9, great night 13" 100X--cluster, pretty large, pretty bright, rich, somewhat compressed, stars 11...13, elongated grouping 2X1 in PA 60. Counted 26 stars, several a nice yellow color.

NGC 1023 Pretty bright, large, much elongated, bright middle at 135X. Raising the power to 200X brings out a small tuft on the Eastern tip of this galaxy.

Granite Wash Mt. s=8 T=9 Wow 13" 100X Bright, large, very elongated 3X1 in PA 90, much, much brighter middle. 220X--several brightenings in arms (stars or HII regions?). Averted vision makes a huge difference in the length and thickness. Very faint companion to E.


NGC 1039 (M 34) Bright, very large, not compressed, pretty rich at 100X. Using this power, the cluster is so large that it almost losses the cluster aspect in the 13". The view in the 11 X 80 finder is better at making this a cluster of stars. It is just barely visible naked eye from the best sites in Arizona. A pair of 10X50 binocs shows the brightest 8 members and an E-W bar of brighter stars through the central portion of this cluster. An 8" f/4.5 RFT at 50X brings out about 60 members to 11th mag. The cluster has many lovely chains of stars and small groups of 5 to 10 stars. The 13" does not bring out more stars at any power. It seems that there are few dim members to this cluster.

Sun Valley 6/10 Just seen naked eye, 11X80 obvious Cl, 11 stars counted, nice view. 60X in 13" bright, large, little compressed, well resolved, stars 9..., 61 stars counted and a background of fuzz. Several nice pairs about 10 to 15 arcsec. A beautiful chain of 12 stars along the south side ends in an 11th mag yellow star. 100X in 13" best view, Cl is approx. 60% of FOV. many lovely chains and pairs, appears all resolved. 58 stars. 6" f/6 and 22mm Panoptic--bright, large, little compressed, stars 9..., 29 stars; with 14mm great view, 38 stars resolved, some very faint, a nice matched pair about 10thmag on west side.


NGC 1058 Pretty faint, pretty small, somewhat brighter in the middle, little elongated 1.2 X 1 in PA 135, not much at 100X.

NGC 1169 Faint, small, round, much brighter in the middle with an almost stellar nucleus at 135X.

NGC 1175 Faint, small, very elongated 3 X 1 in PA 165, brighter in the middle at 135X.

NGC 1777 Very, very faint, very small, round, only shows with averted vision at 135X.

NGC 1220 Pretty faint, small, very compressed, somewhat brighter in the middle. There are 7 stars resolved at both 135X and 220X. This cluster always displays an "oatmeal" background of unresolved stars. Averted vision makes it grow. This open cluster reminds me of a distant globular cluster.

NGC 1245 Bright, large and much compressed open cluster. In the 13" at 165X I counted 82 members, many in nice chains of stars that form curved lines. This cluster takes high power well and the many faint members remind me of NGC 7789 in Cassiopeia.

NGC 1270 Faint, small, round, little brighter in the middle, 220X holds it steady.

NGC 1275 is the central galaxy in the Perseus I cluster of galaxies. It is pretty faint, small and little elongated at 165X in the 17.5" on a night I rated 8/10 for seeing and transparency near Sedona, Arizona at about 5000 feet elevation. With averted vision I could pick out 6 other galaxies within one degree of NGC 1275. This is a pretty rich Milky Way field and that makes deciding what is a galaxy and what is a star quite difficult at times. I have only reported the objects I could definitely identify as galaxies. Ultimate Star Party, McDonald Obs. S=6, T=8, 36" f/5-- Abell 426 in Perseus; 81 galaxies counted; most round; a few show faint spiral structure; most of the galaxies are elliptical; rich field of stars; two fields of view in 20mm with get you to more groupings of galaxies in any direction.

Abell 426 in PER 36" 20mm; 17 bright galaxies and 58 other members that are within one field of the central section. Tom Clark's "River of Galaxies" is to the North of NGC 1275 and is immediately obvious.


NGC 1333 Pretty faint, pretty large, irregularly round, this nebula is enhanced by the UHC filter quite a bit. It was seen at 100X and better at 165X. There is a 9th mag star on the north side, but in general this object is in a very star poor region of Perseus.

NGC 1342 is a bright, large and somewhat scattered open cluster in the 13" at 100X. There are about 40* in the group and a dark lane in the Milky Way near the cluster.

NGC 1440 Pretty faint, small, compressed, not rich, 14 stars counted at 165X. A nice yellow and light blue double involved.

NGC 1465 Extremely faint, pretty small, much elongated 3 X 1 in PA 90, little brighter in the middle. This is a tough object to spot even at 220X, it needs high power to get Zeta PER out of the field of view.

NGC 1491 Pretty faint, pretty large, irregularly round at 135X with the UHC filter. At 100X without the filter I just barely noticed this nebula. There is a 10th mag star involved and the UHC enhanced the contrast quite a bit.

13" Sun Valley site 6/10 100X--pretty bright, pretty small, little brighter middle, 10th mag star on E edge, averted vision doubles the size, 4 13th mag stars involved. 220X brings out 2 more stars for a total of 7, UHC filter does not help, actually reduces the size of the nebulosity. Always grey in color.

NGC 1499 Pretty bright, very, very large, much elongated 2.5 X 1 in PA 75, with several stars involved. This view of the California Nebula is with an 11 X 80 finder. This wide field view makes the "California" shape immediately obvious. Installing the UHC filter in the eyepiece of the 80mm finder enhances the view considerably. Observing this object in the 13" is difficult because it is so large. Even with a 38mm eyepiece with give one degree field, only one third of the nebula will fit. However, the increased aperture show many light and dark bands lengthwise in the nebula.

Vicksberg Rd. S+T=7 10X50 binoculars--just seen, elongated 2.5X1 with 2 stars involved, low surface brightness with small aperture.

NGC 1513 Pretty bright, pretty large, rich and somewhat compressed at 100X. 34* counted, including a nice arc of pretty bright stars on the North side. The bizarre thing about this cluster is that it is shaped like a horseshoe. Wouldn't it be fun to fly out there and see if that is the true shape of this cluster?

NGC 1528 Bright, large, rich and somewhat compressed cluster. 85* counted at 135X, many in lovely chains. Several dark lanes wind their way through the cluster. It almost fills the field of view. There are stars of a wide variety of colors in this lovely cluster: blue, yellow, orange, white and gold. This object is easy in the 11X80 finder. This very nice cluster is a favorite of mine and could have been a Messier object if he had only swept this area.

Eagle Eye 6" f/6 S+T=7 25X--28 stars, cluster is obvious and stands out well from Milky Way. Bright, pretty large, rich, considerably compressed. 65X--35 stars, cluster is now really obvious, 6 nice pairs of stars are split, a nice view.

NGC 1545 Pretty bright, pretty poor, not compressed cluster at 100X. 21* counted, two pretty bright yellow members and several dim members.

NGC 1579 Pretty bright, pretty large, elongated 1.5 X 1 in PA 0. Just a nebulous patch which is brighter on the south end at 100X.

NGC 1582 Bright, large, not rich, scattered, 33 stars counted at 60X. A curved line of 6 stars of 9th and 10th mag with some dim members.

NGC 1585 Bright, large, scattered cluster. I counted 33* at 60X. There is a curved line of 6* of about 9th mag and several dim members that make up this group.

NGC 1605 Very faint, pretty small, compressed open cluster. I spotted it at 100X, but 165X was required to count the stars involved. I counted 3* of 12th mag and 15* of 13th mag. This cluster is not much at any power.

NGC 1624 Pretty faint, pretty large, irregular shape and brighter in the middle at 135X. There are 7 stars involved at without the UHC filter. The filter helps the contrast somewhat.

IC 348 Faint, pretty small, irregularly round at 135X. This nebula surrounds the double star Struve 439, an easy split at 135X and a yellow and blue pair. The UHC does not help the nebula contrast. A nice double involved within the nebula, the contrast is better on the south side, away from Omicron PER.

IC 351 Pretty bright, very small, round, brighter in the middle. This tiny planetary was suspected at 135X and confirmed at 220X. At the higher power it was about three times the size of the seeing disk. It is a light green in color.

IC 2003 Pretty bright, pretty small, round brighter in the middle, noticed at 100X, better at 220X. It is about five times the Airy disk in size. There is a 13th mag star to the SW about 20". This object is a nice lime green at all powers.

King 5 Pretty faint, pretty large, not compressed, not rich. 12 stars and a very grainy background, which gives the impression of many faint members at 135X.

Ru 148 Pretty faint, pretty small, not compressed. I counted 2* of 10th mag and 10* of 12th mag at 100X

Berk 11 Pretty faint, pretty small, not rich, compressed at 165X. 8* counted with some faint background stars that form a faint glow.

Tr 2 pretty bright, pretty large, pretty rich and somewhat compressed at 100X. 20* counted with a very nice blue and gold double on the SW side.

Col 39 or Mel 20 or the Alpha Perseus Association is a group of bright stars around Alpha Per which have the same proper motion through the galaxy. I counted 39* in this area in 10X50 binocs. The central 3 degrees of the field has many lovely chains of stars and wide pairs. One of these chains is SE from Alpha and forms "The Saxophone", a curved line of stars that looks like that musical instrument. This group is larger than the widest field I can get in the RFT 6" f/6, but there are many nice groupings of bright stars and a very lumpy background of unresolved stars.

6" f/6 Sentinel 6/10 S+T Very bright, very, very large, rich, not compressed, somewhat scattered, huge grouping at stars. Several nice, bright chains on the east side of Alpha Per. The entire group is about 4 degrees in size, larger than the field of view with the 38mm Giant Erfle. There are several light orange members within a bright, rich Milky Way field. 100 stars of mags 7......

Vicksberg Rd. S+T=7 binoculars
8X25--16 stars, looping cluster, a long chain of pretty bright stars.
10X50--39 stars, six of them are pretty bright, the rest are pretty faint. There are several triples along with the long loop of stars to the south of alpha per.
11X80--44 stars, doesn't add much to 10X50 view

Stock 4 6 stars resolved in the 11X80 finder. 25* in 13" at 100X, it is pretty bright, pretty large, not compressed and not rich.


Ultimate Star Party, McDonald Obs., Oct. 95, S=7, T=9, 36" f/5--

Abell 347 in PER 36" 20mm; Aperture WINS; overwhelming number of galaxies in a rich field of stars.

Double Stars

Theta Per easy split at 100X. Light yellow and grey.

Eta Per easy split at 100X. Gold and medium blue. This gorgeous double has 11 stars which form a small cluster around it, very nice.

Epsilon Per Split at 100X, 165X better. Blue-white and light green pair.

Tau Per Wide pair with pretty faint comes, white and white.

20 Per Very wide, near cluster NGC 1545. Off white and blue.

Struve 331 easy split at 100X. White and white.

Struve 434 Split at 135X. Yellow and blue in nice Milky Way field.

Struve 552 Split at 165X. Nice matched white pair.

Otto Struve 47 wide pair, easy at 100X. White and light blue.