Clusters NGC 7788 & NGC 7790

NGC 7788 + NGC 7790
NGC 7788 + NGC 7790: Open cluster in Cassiopeia; 500 mm Cassegrain 3625 mm f/7.2; SBIG STL11K; 255+3*120 min LRGB; Bernese Highlands; © 2015 Radek Chromik [32]


On 16 December 1788, William Herschel discovered an open star cluster with his 18.7 inch reflector and recorded it as VII 56. (class VII = pretty much compressed clusters of large or small stars). He noted: «A pretty compressed cluster of small stars of several sizes, considerably rich, extended near in the direction of the parallel of declination. 5 or 6' long.» [465] That cluster was later added as NGC 7790 to Dreyer's «New General Catalogue». [313]

Only 17 arc minutes towards northwest there is another open star cluster, which was apparently missed by William Herschel. It was discovered on 5 October 1829 by his son John using his 18.3 inch reflector. He cataloged it as h 2283 (GC 5030) and noted for sweep 216: «Very small and close cluster. One star 10 m with a great many very minute stars close to it.» With sweep 219 he noted: «A pretty rich, small, condensed cluster. One star 10 m, the rest 13 m.» [466] That cluster was later added as NGC 7788 to Dreyer's «New General Catalogue». [313]

Physical Properties

The open star cluster NGC 7788 is of the Trumpler type I2p. [277] The age of this relatively young star cluster is estimated at 20-40 million years. It is of a surrounded by a stellar halo extending out to a radius of 5 arc minutes (about 3.4 pc) from an early mass ejection. [387]

NGC 7790 is of Trumpler type III2p. [277] It is slightly older than its neighbor NGC 7788 with an estimated age of 60-80 million years Evidence of a halo. Both star clusters are believed to have originated in the same star-forming region but not in the same molecular cloud NGC. 7790 has been the subject of numerous studies, largely due to three Cepheid variables making the cluster an important rung in the cosmic distance ladder. The calculated distance is 3160 ± 160 pc. The distance to NGC 7788 is about 400 pc. [387]

Two other, fainter star clusters are in view: Berkeley 58 (distance ~3715 pc, age ~251 million years) and the faint Frolov 1 (distance ~2560 pc, age ~45 million years). [138]

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
NGC 7788 23 56 46.0 +61 24 00 OCL (I2p) 9.4 4 2.374 Cl, S, pRi, vC, st 10, 13… h 2283; GC 5030; OCL 275
NGC 7790 23 58 24.2 +61 12 30 OCL (III2p) 8.5 5 2.944 Cl, pRi, pC WH VII 56; h 2285; GC 5032; OCL 276

Finder Chart

Open star clusters NGC 7788 and NGC 7790 are in the constellation Cassiopeia. The best viewing time is July to January when the circumpolar constellation is at its highest.

Finder Chart Clusters NGC 7788 & NGC 7790
Clusters NGC 7788 & NGC 7790 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]

Objects Within a Radius of 15°


  • [32] Astrofotografie by Radek, Bernie and Dragan;
  • [138] WEBDA, A site Devoted to Stellar Clusters in the Galaxy and the Magellanic Clouds;
  • [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
  • [387] «The Young Open Clusters King 12, NGC 7788, and NGC 7790: Pre-Main Sequence Stars and Extended Stellar Halos» T. J. Davidge; Published 2012 December 4; The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 761, Number 2; arXiv:1211.6398; DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/761/2/155
  • [465] «Catalogue of 500 new nebulae, nebulous stars, planetary nebula:, and clusters of stars; with remarks on the construction of the heavens» William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1 January 1802; DOI:10.1098/rstl.1802.0021
  • [466] «Observations of nebulæ and clusters of stars, made at Slough, with a twenty-feet reflector, between the years 1825 and 1833» John Frederick William Herschel, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1 January 1833, Pages: 359-505; DOI:10.1098/rstl.1833.0021