(IAAC) Obj: Stock 2 - Inst: 16x70 binoculars on tripod

Observer: Lew Gramer
Your skills: Intermediate (some years)
Date/time of observation: 9/10 Feb 1999  04:00 UT
Location of site: MIT Haystack Obs., Westford, MA, USA (Lat 43N, Elev 30m)
Site classification: Exurban
Sky darkness: 6.6 <Limiting magnitude>
Seeing: 4 <1-10 Seeing Scale (10 best)>
Moon presence: None - moon not in sky
Instrument: 16x70 binoculars on tripod
Magnification: 16x
Filter(s): None.
Object(s): Stock 2
Object category: Open Cluster.
Object class: III 1 m/I 2 m
Constellation: Cas
Object data: mag 4.4 8.18m*  size 60' catalog (120'x90' observed)
Position: 0215.0+5916
Thanks to Steve Clougherty for the use of his fine binoculars as
we were setting up the ATMs of Boston's 17.5" Club scope tonight!
In such an extremely wide-field instrument, Stock 2 was strikingly
and beautifully apparent to me even before I knew it was there...
I was sweeping from the "lamed" E leg of the "M" asterism in Cas,
over toward the fine sight of the Double Cluster in Perseus, on a
hunt for any smaller NGC clusters or new, intriguing asterisms to
be found there. And suddenly my field was filled by a spectacular
branching river of stars, making me think at first glance I had
strayed all the way over to Camelopardalis and Kemble's Cascade!
But a quick check for delta and epsilon Cas to one side, and the
Double Cluster to the other, confirmed that I must be looking at
the fine cluster Stock 2. The backbone of St2 is a pretty line of
stars trailing loosely E-W a full 2 degrees. These are variously
of mags 8 and 9, with a sprinkling of fainter ones along the line.
From just W of the linear center of this primary line, an arm or
"tributary" of mag 8 stars are immediately apparent running due S
maybe a degree. These end in a little "pool" of fainter stars that
lie amid a small lagoon of intriguingly black sky. Another branch
of the River veers off the E end of the center line, running up to
its own pretty clustering of five or six stars mags 8 and fainter.
Finally a further tributary was apparent peeling off NW, from very
close to the exact middle of the E-W line, consisting of 10 stars
mag 9 and fainter. My total star count in St2 using the "quadrant"
technique was 60 stars down to about mag 11. And as noted, all the
boundaries and structures of the cluster stood out magnificently in
my field, easily covering 120' linear extent by about 90' max width.
Object data thanks to dObjects: http://www.eaglequest.com/~bondono/dObjects
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