Most star clusters are singularly impressive.
But open clusters NGC 869 and NGC 884
are doubly impressive. Also known as "h and chi Persei",
this rare double cluster
is bright enough to be seen from a dark location without even
binoculars. Although their discovery surely predates written
history, the "double cluster" was notably cataloged
by the Greek astronomer Hipparcos.
The clusters are over 7000 light years distant toward the constellation
but are separated by only hundreds of light years.
This color picture was made from CCD images taken in September 1997 at the Burrell Schmidt telescope of the Warner and Swasey Observatory of the Case Western Reserve University, located on Kitt Peak in southwestern Arizona.
Credit: N.A.Sharp/NOAO/AURA/NSF Text: APOD