IC 348: Cluster with Nebulosity

IC 348
IC 348: Open cluster with nebula in Perseus; 500 mm Cassegrain 3625 mm f/7.2, SBIG STL11K; 210+3*70 min LRGB; Bernese Highlands; © 2014 Radek Chromik [32]


On 1 December 1866, the American astronomer Truman Safford discovered an open star cluster surrounded by a nebula. In his notes he noted the following footnote: «Loose star cluster with nebula». But John L. E. Dreyer overlooked this note when he was preparing his first «Index Catalog» [314] for 1895 and only mentioned the nebula in his description for entry IC 348. So it happened that Dreyer in his second «Index Catalog» [315] from 1910 the discovery of Edward Barnard from 6 December 1893 with the description «Stars 8th size in weak, extremely large nebula» with IC 1985 as a double entry for the same object. [196]

Physical Properties

IC 348 is a young star cluster and star formation region. The cluster contains about 400 stars spread over an area of about 20 arcminutes. The most massive stars are the double star system BD +31°643, which are of the spectral type B5 and have an angular distance of 0.6 arcseconds to each other. About half of all stars have a circumstellar disk from which a planetary system could be formed. The age of the cluster is estimated to be two million years. The distance is about 315 parsecs, around 1000 light years. [356, 357]

Revised+Historic NGC/IC Version 22/9, © 2022 Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke [277]
Name RA Dec Type bMag vMag B-V SB Dim PA z D(z) MD Dreyer Description Identification, Remarks
IC 348 03 44 34.1 +32 09 47 OCL (IV2pn) 7.3 10 0.394 pB, vL, vgbM IC 1985; OCL 409; LBN 758; CED 20
IC 1985 03 44 34.1 +32 09 47 dup 7.3 10 0.394 * 8 in F, eL neb IC 348; OCL 409; LBN 758; CED 20

Finder Chart

The open star cluster with galactic nebula IC 348 is located in the constellation Perseus near the star Atik (ο Persei). The best time to observe is August to March, when the circumpolar constellation is highest at night.

Finder Chart IC 348: Cluster with Nebulosity
IC 348: Cluster with Nebulosity in constellation Perseus. Charts created using SkySafari 6 Pro and STScI Digitized Sky Survey. Limiting magnitudes: Constellation chart ~6.5 mag, DSS2 close-ups ~20 mag. [149, 160]

Objects Within a Radius of 15°


  • [32] Astrofotografie by Radek, Bernie and Dragan; sternwarte.ch
  • [149] SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum; skysafariastronomy.com
  • [160] The STScI Digitized Sky Survey; archive.stsci.edu/cgi-bin/dss_form
  • [196] Celestial Atlas by Curtney Seligman; cseligman.com/text/atlas.htm (2020-12-28)
  • [277] «Historische Deep-Sky Kataloge» von Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke; klima-luft.de/steinicke (2021-02-17)
  • [314] «Index Catalogue of Nebulæ found in the years 1888 to 1894, with Notes and Corrections to the New General Catalogue» Dreyer, J. L. E.; Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 51, p.185; 1895; Bibcode:1895MmRAS..51..185D
  • [315] «Second Index Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars; containing objects found in the years 1895 to 1907, with Notes and Corrections to the New General Catalogue and to the Index Catalogue for 1888–94» Dreyer, J. L. E. (1910); Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 59: 105–198; Bibcode:1910MmRAS..59..105D
  • [356] «A Census of the Young Cluster IC 348» K. L. Luhman, John R. Stauffer, A. A. Muench, G. H. Rieke, E. A. Lada, J. Bouvier, and C. J. Lada; The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 593, Number 2; DOI:10.1086/376594
  • [357] «Spitzer Observations of IC 348: The Disk Population at 2-3 Million Years» Charles J. Lada, August A. Muench, K. L. Luhman, Lori Allen, Lee Hartmann, Tom Megeath, Philip Myers, Giovanni Fazio, Kenneth Wood, James Muzerolle; The Astronomical Journal, Volume 131, Number 3; DOI:10.1086/499808