NGC 6871, 6883, Biurakan 1 and 2 -- Open Clusters in Cygnus
Four Open Clusters in the Swan
The night sky of October 13, 2018 was clean and clear. It had been weeks since I had seen the
heavens so transparent over my house. Straight overhead I had magnitude 4 stars visible, which
from my suburban location is a good as it gets. Cygnus the swan was at the Zenith, so it was
there that I aimed the telescope. The Milky Way is not visible from my house, but I knew that it
was flowing through the swan painting the constellation with thousands upon thousands of stars.
The Milky Way, as it passes through Cygnus contain countless Open Clusters that in some
locations are so embedded with background stars that it is virtually impossible to know when an
Open Cluster ends, and the background of Milky Way stars begins. This whole area through a
telescope/binocular is a beautiful and majestic scattering of countless stars and star groups.
I settled on NGC 6871, a bright Open Cluster whose center concentration of stars is pleasingly
compact. Adjacent to NGC 6871 are three additional Open Clusters, that flow seamlessly into
each other across two-degrees of the Milky Way. All four clusters fit easily in my low power
eyepiece and provided mesmerizing combinations of stellar enjoyment.