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RickJ
2011-Dec-31, 12:48 AM
NGC 659 is an open cluster in Cassiopeia. The WEBDA says it is about 6,300 light-years away though many internet sources say it about 10,000 to 11400 light-years away without giving a source. It's diameter is about 5 minutes of arc which translates to a diameter of about 15 to17 light-years using the larger distance, 9 light-years using the 6,300 figure. The cluster's age is difficult to pin down but it is likely about 112 million years old. For more on this see:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/q263568660312q37/

The cluster was found by Caroline Herschel in on September 27, 1783. William verified it 4 years later.

14" LX200R @ f/10, L=4x10' RGB=1x10'x3, STL-11000XM, Paramount ME

Rick