The Binocular Sky


Stock 2 (the Muscleman Cluster)

Constellation: Cas
Object Type: Open Cluster
RA:  2h 14m 34s
Dec:  +59° 13' 58"
Magnitude: 4.4
Recommended minimum aperture: 50mm

Charts for 70mm Binocular (4° aperture circle).   Click on a chart to print it.


You can find Stock 2 by going 2° N of the Perseus Double Cluster.

What You Should See:

I discovered this magnitude 4.4 cluster by accident, during a less than competent attempt to locate the Perseus Double Cluster from light-polluted school playground. I was immediately struck by its delicate beauty: tens of 9th and 10th magnitude stars spread reasonably evenly over an area about a degree in diameter. It was only after I identified it and subsequently read other people’s accounts that I became aware of the decapitated stick-man, flexing his muscles and hauling a string of stars away from the Double Cluster, that give it its common name.

Although it looks larger than the Double Cluster, with a true span of 18 light years it is actually less than a third of the diameter of either component of the latter. It is much closer, only 1050 light years away, as compared to the 7200 and 7500 light year distances of the two components of the better-known neighbour.

It is easily visible in 10x50 glasses, but I far prefer the view in 15x70s, where it shows more stars and is nicely framed by the smaller field of view.

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