NGC 1245 -- Open Cluster in Perseus
Sponge-Bob Squarepants’ Best Friend
The sky was very transparent last night. After the gibbous moon sat around 2-AM, I pulled
the little widefield telescope out to observe and draw the Hyades and the Alpha Persei
Moving Cluster. By the time I finished I was exhausted (these are both large-complex
Open Clusters), but I still had a good hour left before the sky started to brighten. I was not
about to waste this nice of a night, since I so rarely see it this good over my house.
Next to the Alpha Persei Moving Cluster (which I had just finished drawing) is the small
but very-rich Open Cluster NGC 1245 that goes by the name of Patrick Starfish. For
those of you that don’t have children, the pink starfish Patrick is the best friend of
Sponge-Bob Squarepants (a children’s cartoon character). In Stephen O’Meara’s book
“The Secret Deep”, he states that it was TeleVue Optics president, David Nagler’s
young daughter that coined the name for this cluster. The name has caught on and the
cluster is listed as “Patrick Starfish” even in the new European “Interstellarum Deep Sky
Atlas”. And yes, it does look like a starfish – kind of.
Patrick Starfish’s concentrated stars are really too dim for me to be able to resolve,
except for a few of its brightest members, through a small telescope, under suburban
skies. When I was working my way through the Herschel 400 list with the
18”-Dobsonian, from a dark-site, this was one impressive Open Cluster.
This morning, through the small telescope, I was pleasantly surprised how nicely the
unresolved haze from the concentrated stars of the cluster showed in the eyepiece.
Oh well, it just meant that I ended up with another Open Cluster drawing for the night.