A double cluster and a double nebula: a precious spot of heaven

One of the most beautiful spots in the night sky, the region between Cassiopeia and Perseus offers unique cosmic gems. Here it is a memorable view of the Double Cluster with the “Heart” and “Soul” emission nebulae, plus other treasures.

The Perseus Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884), the "Heart" (IC 1805), "Soul" (IC 1848), Vdb 14 and Vdb 15 nebulae.

The Perseus Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884), the “Heart” (IC 1805), “Soul” (IC 1848), Vdb 14 and Vdb 15 nebulae.

The image above comes from the combination of 20, 120-second exposures, remotely taken on 14 Nov. 2023 with the Samyang 135+Paramount ME+ZWO ASI 6200MC Pro robotic unit available as part of the Virtual Telescope Project facility in Manciano, Italy. The covered field of view is of 15 x 10 square degrees.

The frames were carefully processed by the DeepLab team and the resulting image makes justice of this superb region in the night sky.

On the bottom right, the Perseus Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884) really stands out. Visible to the naked eye under dark skies, both the clusters are very young (about 15 million years) and were catalogued by Hipparchus in the 2BC, while they were labelled h Persei and χ Persei by Bayer in the XVII Century.

On the top-center, the Heart nebula (IC 1805) is located at about 7500 light years from us and it hosts the Melotte 15 star cluster.

Beside it, on the left, the Soul nebula (IC 1848 from one of the star clusters embedded in it) adds its beauty to this stunning sight.

Just below the two nebulae, two fuzzy, red spots are visible: they are the Maffei 1 and Maffei 2 galaxies, heavily obscured by dusty clouds of our Milky Way.

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