NGC 129 -- Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
Astronomy Before Bedtime
Tonight, is the longest night of the year. It is a plus that I can observe for two to three hours and
still get to bed at a normal time or, if I so choose, I can get in a couple of hours of observing
before sunrise without compromising my normal sleep cycle. Tonight, I decided to go out under
the stars before bedtime. Cassiopeia was overhead and shinning bright in the chilled winter air.
Cassiopeia is loaded with Open Clusters, so finding an object of interest is never difficult.
At low power, with the 155mm refractor, Open Cluster NGC 129 appeared as a small triangle of
8th & 9th magnitude stars. The triangle changed to a squashed circle of stars with a starless
center once the magnification was increased. Most of the clusters nearly 200 stars are below
the resolution of my refractor; this resulted in a fleeting background of subtle unresolved starlight
that whisked in and out of existence in the cold night air.
A pre-bedtime view of NGC 129 was every bit as enjoyable as bonding in bed with a good
book – maybe even better.