NGC 1528 & NGC 1545 -- Open Clusters in Perseus
The Jellyfish/Starfish Binary Clusters
A collection of Open Clusters including NGC 1444, NGC 1513, NGC 1545 & NGC 1528 are
found just to the west of the Alpha Persei Moving Cluster. NGC 1444 and NGC 1513 have
their charms but NGC 1545 (The Starfish) and NGC 1528 (The Jellyfish) are the visual
highlights of the foursome.
The Starfish and the Jellyfish are separated by 1 ½ degrees. It is postulated that the clusters
are a binary couple that are linked to each other gravitationally. They make a marvelous pair.
The downward directed fat star arms of NGC 1528 suggest, to me, a slow swimming jellyfish
while the six thin radiating star arms of NGC 1545 brings to my mind a starfish. To add to the
illusion, it is easy to visualize the numerous neighboring stars as tiny bioluminescent sea
gooseberries (comb jellies) swimming in the same waters as the starfish and jellyfish. This
magical scene is most likely due to my youthful remembrances from long hours exploring tide
pools in the Pacific Northwest.
Two double stars standout in the Starfish. The brighter pair (HD 27277 & HD 27292) marks
the center of the cluster. Above it is a tighter pair of stars Struve 519.
The drawing is a composite of details obtained at three magnifications (27x, 52x and 137x).
The complexity of the two open clusters demanded it, but at all powers the Jellyfish and the
Starfish were an intriguing sight and worth missing a little sleep to observe.