NGC 7160 -- Open Cluster in Cepheus
The Swimming Alligator
With two bright eyes, two nostrils and the hint of a submerged body and tail, NGC 7160
slowly swims in the star clouds of Cepheus. The alligator is centered in the drawing and
is swimming towards the upper right. Do you see it?
The cluster appears half as bright as it really is. Between NGC 7160 and Earth is the
Great Cygnus Rift which dims this small but impressive Open Cluster.
I have considerable field experience, as a field biologist, watching American Alligators,
Nile Crocodiles, American Crocodiles and several others of their related kin. I would not
recommend getting too close to any swimming crocodilian here on Earth. But for the
celestial alligator, throw fear to the wind, and get close. It is a small cluster that handles