Object: NGC 1664 (The Kite Cluster)

Diameter in '
Number of stars
Brightest star (magnitude)
Distance in parsecs (3.26Ly)
: Auriga
: 04 51.1 / +43 41
: 18
: 7.6
: 101
: 10
: 1126
Details sketch
Date / Time
Observing Location
Seeing / Transparency
Magnification / Field of View '
: 29-12-08 / 23:10
: Landgraaf
: 2 / 4
: Orion Optics UK 300mm
: 17mm Nagler Type 4
: 94 / 52

Stacks Image 1957
Observing report
My first impression is wow, what a jewel! In the 35mm Panoptic (46x, field of view 90') it looks like powder sugar spread out over a 20' area. In the 22 mm Nagler NGC 1664 is already very well defined, but in the 17mm Nagler, this open cluster is at its best. NGV 1664 is very well detached, and I count about 40 to 45 stars, so this makes it a relatively "poor" cluster. However, to me it still looks very impressive.

In the south east there is a bright star visible, and from this star I can see a chain running towards the clusters centre. In the clusters centre I see a kind of keystone asterism, oriented east west, which looks very much like the keystone in Hercules. There is even a star at the position where I see M13 in the Hercules keystone. There is no real central star.

There are several chains of stars, but also some empty dark areas. If you leave the bright star in the southeast out of the account, the range of brightness doesn't seem to be very big. I estimate the stars magnitudes range from magnitude 10 to 12, with a few magnitude 13 stars popping in and out of view. There is no background glow of nebulosity or unresolved stars visible. I do not detect any colour in the stars. Even the two brighter ones seem to be plain white.

When searching facts about this open cluster on the internet, I noticed that NGC 1664 is also known as the Kite-cluster. To be honest, at the telescope I didn't notice the kite-shape, but looking at the sketch I do recognize the kite asterism. The bright star in the southeast does not belong to the cluster. As most open clusters in Auriga, NGC 1664 lies (at a distance of 3.700 light years) in the void between our own spiral arm and the Perseus arm.