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25 June 2004: Stock 1 and The Coathanger

Last night I observed two interesting open clusters with the 15x80 binoculars and the Sky Window. At 21.48 UT when I started my observing session, it wasn't really dark yet, but Collinder 399, also known as "The Coathanger", was already easy to detect. This fine open cluster in Vulpecala contains about 60 stars, spread over an area of a little more than 1 degree. When you see this open cluster for the first time, you will immediately notice why they call it "The Coathanger". Six stars form the coathanger's cross bar and another four create the hook.

The Coathanger, collinder 399

Eyepiece impression of Collinder 399 ( 15x80 binoculars, FOV 3 degrees).
South is up and east is to the left.

Two stars in the asterisms hook have a yellow-orange color, 4 Vulpecalae, the Mag 5.14 star spectral type K0, at the top of the hook and the star to the east of it, SAO 104839, a Mag 5.8 star, spectral type M0III. All other stars are A or B type stars, except the westernmost star in the bar, which is spectral type K3. I did not detect any color in this Mag 7.11 star.

The second cluster I visited is Stock 1, which is also situated in Vulpecala. You can find stock 1 about 3.5 degrees southeast of Albireo (Beta Cygni). Look for a small arc of four stars with a brighter 8-magnitude star just to the west of it. This cluster is not easy to detect because it lies in a rich star field. The map below should give you an idea where to look for Stock 1.

Stock 1

Image generated with "SkyTools 2" by Capellasoft.
North is up, east is to the left

At 23:20 UT I ended my short observing session because a lot of clouds came in from the southwest.

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