NGC 1444 -- Open Cluster in Perseus
A False Double Marks the Cluster
At low to medium power, in the 155mm refractor, where Open Cluster NGC
1444 was marked on the Star-Atlas, all I could see was a double star
(magnitudes 6.7 & 13.1). I could not make out an Open Cluster at all. The
two stars turned out to not be associated with one another -- but again at low
power they made a nice optical pair. And the false double did mark the location
of the much fainter star cluster.
Only after I bumped the power to 243x did I notice a collection of fainter stars
and haze (from unresolved stars) at the designated location. This was the open
cluster I was seeking.
The bright 6.7 magnitude star (HD 23675) that appears in the center of NGC
1444 is not a part of the cluster but a foreground star. It is itself made-up of a
pair of close stars. Theoretically, I should have been able to split HD 23675, but
the unstable atmosphere never allowed me to put dark space between the two. I
was only able to get an elongation-shape in the star(s) indicating that I was seeing
the pair but just not well enough to separate them.