NGC 869884 The Sword Handle Double Cluster

Although the Sword Handle Double Cluster (Figure 7.6) certainly qualifies as a supreme binocular object, it is so striking and successful even with large apertures in all locations that it can certainly justify its position on this list. Use the lowest power available in an effort to fit as much as possible of both clusters in the field of view at once. It is an amazing sight, and makes wonderful direct viewing with many star colors apparent, even without any kind of high-tech assistance. In the days when I had my 12--inch reflector, this was one of my favorite deep space objects, and in many ways it is most impressive at these moderate apertures, with the lower powers they allow, together with significantly higher light grasp than their smaller cousins. Intensification will bring out more stars, particularly since such a significant proportion of them are red supergiants. However, the video frames and my

Figure 7.6. Video frames: intensifier a The Sword Handle, NGC 869/884; b intensifier.

Figure 7.6. Video frames: intensifier a The Sword Handle, NGC 869/884; b intensifier.

lowest magnification still do not do the subjects full justice, and they cannot both be seen together within the intensifier's relatively limited field of view.

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