Owl Cluster


Jaspal Chadha


Skywatcher Espirt 100ED
Ioptron CEM60
Altair Astro LRGB 3 x 300seconds UNGUIDED

And it does bear a striking resemblance to Spielberg’s ET. Two bright stars, phi1 and phi2 (φ1 and φ2) Cassiopeiae, are ET’s eyes. A group of some 40 stars northwest of the “eyes†form ET’s body. Passing through the body is a row of stars that extends outward to the sides, creating the alien’s arms. Add a handful of stars to the base of the body, and ET has feet. Because phi1 is brighter than phi2, ET seems to be winking at us.

ET will greet the owner of even the most modest telescope. A standard 2.4-inch refractor can capture a few dozen cluster members, while an 8-inch reflector will snare one hundred. A magnification of just 50-75X comfortably encompasses the cluster’s 20 arc-minute width.