NGC 1502 & Struve 485 -- Open Cluster & Double Star in Camelopardalis
Golden Harp Cluster
At the southeastern end of Kemble’s Cascade resides the Open Cluster NGC 1502. Its
location is easily noticed by a magnitude 7, double-star, Struve 485. The double has a
separation of around 17 arcseconds, so it is easy to spot even using a low-power eyepiece.
However, to really observe this pretty little cluster, one must up the magnification. Kemble’s
Cascade will disappear from the eyepiece and be replaced with a brilliant double-star
surrounded by over a dozen dimmer stars (more in larger scopes).
The cluster goes by two names, the Golden Harp Cluster and the Jolly Roger. I see neither
a Harp or a Jolly Roger, so really do not have strong feelings on which common name is used.
I settled on the Golden Harp Cluster only because it seems to be used a bit more often in the
newer star atlases.
I find this a pleasing arrangement of stars. To me NGC 1502 seems to have three distinct
levels of star brightness through the small 85mm Refractor at magnification 124x. The bright
double, Struve 485, clearly dominates NGC 1502; surrounded by a lazy-cross of stars just a
bit dimmer than the double. And finally, a collection of faint stars that adds a delicate
background-sparkle to the cluster.