|M103 "Christmas Tree Cluster": Open Star Cluster (Cassiopeia) RA: 01h 33.4m / DEC: +60° 39'.5|
Instrument: 10-inch Starfinder
M103 is a fine open star cluster in Cassiopeia. Ruchbah, Delta Cassiopeiae, is a bright 2.7 magnitude star one degree to the west-southwest. This beautiful little cluster immediately reminded me of a Christmas tree when I first saw it through the 10-inch. Most of the 25 member stars in my sketch are arranged within a triangular patter with bright stars at the corners. The inverted view produced by my Newtonian presents the cluster as a well-shaped pine would appear. This Yule tree is topped by a 7th magnitude star. The cluster covers a 6' area with three closely grouped 8th magnitude stars about 14' to the northeast.
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Revised: February 10, 2002 [WDF]