The American Association of Amateur Astronomers
The Constellation Cepheus - The
The constellations of Cassiopeia and Cepheus are circumpolar
constellations which lie on or near to the Milky Way. As such, many open clusters are in this region, including
some of the finest in the whole sky. There are also large regions of nebulosity in this area. Some of these nebulous
regions are accessible with amateur instruments, but most of them are best seen in long exposure photographs. Planetary
nebulae and even some galaxies are even found in this interesting and rich region.
NGC 40 - This is a fine planetary nebula. It is relatively large, about 50" in diameter, and is seen
as a grey halo surrounding a bright central star. The eastern and western sides of the nebula appear to be brighter
than the rest.
NGC 6939 - This is a rather nondescript open cluster which is only remarkable in that it lies in the same
low power field of view with a galaxy, NGC 6946 in Cygnus, and together they are striking. 6939 is moderately well
detached, and is composed of many faint stars in a 6'x4' area. 6946 is 5-6' in diameter, roughly circular, and
relatively faint. Averted vision hints at dark lanes, indicating its identity as a face on spiral galaxy.
NGC 7160 - This open cluster is about 6'x2', extended east-west, and is composed of about 20 moderately
bright stars. It is well detached from the background, at the brighter stars are aligned along its axis, forming
2 groups of triangles.
Article © Copyright Rick Raasch
Photos © Copyright Edward P. Flaspoehler, Jr.
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