NGC 381 -- Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
The constellation Cassiopeia is loaded with open clusters. Sweeping the constellation
with binoculars is a real treat under a dark sky. But even with binoculars many of the
smaller clusters will go unnoticed. An example is NGC 381. Most of its 50+ stars are
even below the resolution of my 6-inch refractor but their combined glow provides a
misty oval which marks its location.
It is a pretty sight, but had it not been listed as one of the Herschel 400 objects of the
Astronomical League, I doubt it would have been sought out much by amateur
It is a worthy addition to the Astronomical League's Herschel 400 list. Just for honesty,
the Herschel 400 list originated with the "Ancient City Astronomy Club" located in St.
Augustine, Florida and was later adopted by the Astronomical League. I recommend
the Herschel 400 list for anyone who wishes to explore the deep sky after they have
observed all or most of the Messier Objects.