Stock 2 & ASCC 8 -- Open Clusters in Cassiopeia & Perseus
The Muscle Man
Two degrees from the famous Double-Cluster, resting on the border of Cassiopeia
and Perseus is the Muscle Man Open Cluster. The Muscle Man is composed of
Stock 2 and ASCC 8, but in some sources they are combined as just Stock 2.
ASCC 8 is associated within the legs of the Muscle Man but precisely where it merges
with Stock 2 is impossible for me to tell.
The Muscle Man Open Cluster is as bright as the Double-Cluster, but its stars are far
more spread out and thus lacks the splendor of its famous close-by neighbor. The
Muscle Man is a full degree in size (twice the size of the full moon). Splendid in
binoculars and rich field telescopes this cluster losses much of its grander in the
narrower field-of-view provided with most telescopes.
My fast 85mm refractor provided a 4.7-degree field-of-view which was perfect for the
Muscle Man. The human figure is outlined by the fog created by numerous stars falling
below the resolution of the telescope. In the drawing he is lying down with his legs to
the left and his somewhat bloated arms and head to the right. Below his legs is a wide
double star HD 14172 & HD 14173 which are separated by 63 arcseconds and shine
at 6.9 & 7.2 magnitudes. An easy double even at low power.
Because the Muscle Man does not carry a Messier or NGC number it is often
overlooked. And yet it is an easy object to locate and observe. Proof of this was that
this drawing was done while sharing the sky with a bright gibbous moon.