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Double Cluster

Sword Handle, Chi/h Persei, C14, NGC 869 & NGC 884

Proper NamesDouble Cluster, Sword Handle
Bayer DesignationChi/h Persei
Caldwell NumberC14
NGC/IC NumbersNGC 884 (Chi Persei)
NGC 869 (h Persei)
Right Ascension2h 22m 23s (Chi Persei)
2h 19m 0s (h Persei)
Declination+57° 7' 30" (Chi Persei)
+57° 7' 42" (h Persei)
Distancec. 7,600 light years / c. 2,300 parsecs (Chi Persei)
c. 6,800 light years / c. 2,100 parsecs (h Persei)
MagnitudeApparent: +6.1, Absolute -6.3 (Chi Persei)
Apparent: +5.3, Absolute -6.3 (h Persei)
DiameterApparent: 18', Actual: 50 light years (Chi Persei)
Apparent: 18', Actual: 36 light years (h Persei)
Number of Starsc. 150 (Chi Persei)
c. 200 (h Persei)
Optimum VisibilityNovember (Usually visible from northern latitudes)
NotesThis pair of open clusters in the northern fringes of Perseus lie on nearly the same line of sight as seen from Earth, appearing less than half a degree apart. In fact they lie about eight hundred light years from one another, with the western h Persei Cluster being the nearer of the two to the Solar System.
Relative Galactic Position of the Double Cluster

The galactic position of the Double Cluster, Chi/h Persei. The h cluster is a little nearer to Earth than the Chi element, but on the scale of this diagram, the two clusters effectively occupy the same space.

A famous pairing of relatively bright open clusters in the constellation of Perseus. Both clusters are distant from Earth (at more than 6,000 light years).


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