Open Clusters NGC 659 and NGC 663

NGC 663 + NGC 659
NGC 663 + NGC 659: Open clusters NGC 663 (top) and NGC 659 (bottom). Section of DSS2 [147]


According to Caroline Herschels never published «Zone Catalogue» she already discovered both clusters on 3 November 1783. She measured cluster GN 1827 following star δ Cassiopeiae by 17m 47s and 29' north (position of NGC 659). Cluster GN 1828 follows δ Cassiopeiae by 29m 39s and is 1° 2' north of it (position of NGC 663). She was using a small 4.2" f/6.4 Newtonian reflector with 30x magnification built in 1783. [277]

On 3 November 1787 William Herschel listed a «very compressed and rich cluster of stars» as VI 31 and wrote: «A beautiful cluster of pretty large stars near 15' diameter considerably rich.» In the same night he also listed a «coarsely scattered cluster of stars» as VIII 65 and noted: «A small cluster of small stars, not very rich. C. H. 1783» [464] Dreyer added these cluster as NGC 659 and NGC 663 to his «New General Catalogue» published in 1888. [313]

Physical Properties

Revised+Historic NGC/IC, Version 22/9, © Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke [277]
NameRADecTypebMagvMagB-VSBDimPAzD(z)MDDreyer DescriptionIdentification, Remarks
NGC 65901 44 24.0+60 40 12OCL (III1p)7.961.938Cl, lRi, st BOCL 332
NGC 66301 46 17.0+61 13 06OCL (III2m)7.1151.952Cl, B, L, eRi, st pLOCL 333

Finder Chart

The clusters NGC 659 and NGC 663 are located in the constellation Cassiopeia. The best viewing time is July to January when the in Europe circumpolar constellation is at its highest.

Finder Chart Open Clusters NGC 659 and NGC 663
Open Clusters NGC 659 and NGC 663 in constellation Cassiopeia. 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]

More Objects Nearby (±15°)


  • [147] Aladin Lite;
  • [149] SkySafari 6 Pro, Simulation Curriculum;
  • [160] The STScI Digitized Sky Survey;
  • [277] «Historische Deep-Sky Kataloge» von Dr. Wolfgang Steinicke; (2021-02-17)
  • [313] «A New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars, being the Catalogue of the late Sir John F.W. Herschel, Bart., revised, corrected, and enlarged» Dreyer, J. L. E. (1888); Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 49: 1–237; Bibcode:1888MmRAS..49....1D
  • [464] «Catalogue of a second thousand of new nebulae and clusters of stars; with a few introductory remarks on the construction of the heavens» William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1 January 1789; DOI:10.1098/rstl.1789.0021