Stock 23 -- Open Cluster in Camelopardalis/Cassiopea
I was living in West Africa (and out of touch with astronomy publications) when Sky &
Telescope magazine published their March 1978 issue containing an article written by
John Pazmino about a “newly identified” bright open cluster on the border of Camelopardalis
and Cassiopeia. This cluster has no Messier, NGC or IC designation even though it is easy
to observe with binoculars. This open cluster is currently called “Stock 23” but is more widely
known as Pazmino’s Cluster due to John Pazmino’s independent rediscovery and the Sky &
I became aware of the Pazmino’s Cluster only after Sky & Telescope published in 1999
“Deep-Sky Wonders” which was a collection of articles written by Walter Scott Houston for
the magazine between 1946 to 1994.
Houston’s writeup on Pazmino’s Cluster incited me to hunt the cluster down for myself on
the next clear night. Although, I have visited this cluster over the years last Sunday morning
was the first time that I took the time to draw it.
The four bright stars in the center of the cluster resemble a Keystone, somewhat reminiscent
of the four Keystone stars in Hercules. These four stars fall on the Camelopardalis side of the
cluster and I am sure that it is reason that the cluster has been assigned to the constellation
of the camel. In reality the border between Camelopardalis and Cassiopeia divides the
cluster almost exactly in half.
This was a pleasing cluster to view and draw. A couple of the brighter stars have short strings
of 2 or 3 dimmer stars emanating from them. Several real or apparent double stars, within
and around the cluster added to the view.