Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2003 December 2
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NGC 869 & NGC 884: A Double Open Cluster
Credit & Copyright: Michael Fulbright (

Explanation: Most star clusters are singularly impressive. Open clusters NGC 869 and NGC 884, however, are doubly impressive. Also known as "h and chi Persei", this unusual double cluster, shown above, is bright enough to be seen from a dark location without even binoculars. Although their discovery surely predates written history, the Greek astronomer Hipparchus notably cataloged the "double cluster". The clusters are over 7000 light years distant toward the constellation of Perseus, but are separated by only hundreds of light years.

Tomorrow's picture: Misplaced Moon

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