The Double Cluster in Perseus


Object Type: Open Cluster
Scope: APO 80mm
Exposure 70 minutes



The Double Cluster (also known as Caldwell 14) is the common name for the naked-eye open clusters NGC 884 ( Persei) and NGC 869 (h Persei), which are close together in the constellation Perseus. NGC 884 and NGC 869 are at distances of 7600 and 6800 light-years away, respectively, so they are close to one another in space as well. The clusters' ages based on their individual stars are similar, in addition to their physical proximity.


They are relatively young clusters, with NGC 869 5.6 million years and NGC 884 at 3.2 million years according to the 2000 Sky Catalogue. In comparison, the Pleiades have an estimated age ranging from 75 million years to 150 million years. There are more than 300 blue-white super-giant stars in each of these clusters.

They are also blueshifted, with NGC 869 approaching Earth at a speed of 22 km/s and NGC 884 approaching at a similar speed of 21 km/s.