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Cassiopeia micro clusters & other strange phenomenon

Special K

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Starting with the strange: While the scope was cooling I saw three instances of solidly bright, slow moving objects moving about ISS speed or faster across the sky and then fizzle out. All three were in different directions and plenty bright!  There were no blinking plane lights, so perhaps these were iridium flares, rather than little green men! :evil7::evil7: :evil7:

I've got a small project going to finally harvest some views of the micro clusters which sit inside the W.  There are dozens and dozens of little clusters dotted around the area making it a rich picking of faint challenges.  Beginning at γ Cas and with the atlas perched on my lap, I cruised around a small number of them:

Czernik 2 is a loose pack, and quite impossible to tell visually which stars are really part of it!

NGC129 is visually pleasing with enough brighter stars to form a few asterisms.

NGC225 the Sailboat Cluster: I couldn't make that shape out but this is a nice loose cloud.

Stock 24 is interesting to view as there are some brighter adjacent stars 

K15 & NGC136:  I got a little lost here; not knowing which little dim associations were the clusters

Mayer 1 must be a tiny pack, as I couldn't see much else going on 

K13 & Czernik 1 were tough and I'd say I missed them.  It's just not clear where they are.

Stock 20 is quite nice!  There is a stream of stars between κ and Sh2-173 and Stock 20 is blended into it, making it visually appealing.  SAI 4 is next door but I couldn't figure it out.

NGC133 shaped like a Y, NGC146, K14, and Pothier 7 are very close to each other in the vicinity of κ Cas making a lovely presentation in any eyepiece.  These all fit in 1° FOV.  They are all quite dim, and perhaps Pothier 7 is beyond the reach of the 6" but it sure looked like a fourth bundle of stars.  I'd say this was the best of the little clusters since they are different entities and appear nicely separated.

There is plenty more to the project moving north east from κ and from Caph (β) back toward M52 in the West.  I've been meaning to take this tour for a long time.

Some distractions along the way included: Doubles Σ60 (η), Almach, and Albireo, Andromeda extending much further out from the bright core, M57, and a curtain call by the Owl Cluster NGC457.  Clear skies!



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Nice report and nice atlas, I love mine. going back to bright objects in the sky that then vanish, I'm always puzzled by one that often moves south to north, starts low down and bright then disappears when you would not expect. I have seen it many times always about the same place, clearly a satellite but an odd one.


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