Finally had two clear nights with a beautiful sky to observe. Even with a bright first quarter moon up, I had to get out and look even though I was observing from home in heavily light polluted skies.
I spent the first portion of this evening watching the Lunar-X (Werner Cross). I set up the little 2.6-inch AT66 APO at 5:00pm EST to watch the cross appear as the terminator came across it. The Lunar-X was still visible at 9:00pm after the terminator had crossed over it, but only because I had looked about every 10 to 15 minutes for the four hours. This is something to watch if you get a chance to view it.
After viewing the Lunar-X I turned my attention to the January Las Vegas Observers Challenge object, NGC 1502. This is a wonderful little open cluster located at the southeast end of Kemble’s Cascade in the constellation of Camelopardalis. Observing the cluster in town with all the light pollution made the cluster appear to be very faint. Most of the stars in the cluster were best seen with averted vision. These faint stars were located on a faint gray smudge of unresolved stars. There are two bright stars in the center of the cluster that are magnitude 6.93 and 6.94. These two stars are separated 17.9 seconds of arc and are known as Struve 485. This is a nice bright double star in the center of the cluster.
Over the years, I would only glance at NGC 1502, when looking at Kemble’s Cascade through my finder. This is s great little cluster especially for a small scope. I am glad that it was an object for the Observer’s Challenge.