A NEW STAR CLUSTER IN CAMELOPARDU5? --------------------------------- John Pazmino NYSkies Astronomy Inc www.nyskies.org email@example.com 1977 November 1 initial 2011 January 8 current
[Since 1977 Pazmino's Cluster attracts attention when each autumn it rises into the evening sky of mid north latitudes. It is ushered by Cassiopeia and Perseus, sitting at the north point of an equilateral triangle with them. [Some observers begin their annual enjoyment of Pazmino's Cluster in August under the Perseid meteors. Viewing continues into the next spring when the Cluster sinks into twilight with Perseus and Auriga. [Altho Pazmino's Cluster is circumpolar, it is typicly hidden by skyline or shmutz when it is near lower culmination. It is usually allowed to rest from late spring thru the next Perseid shower. [Pazmino's Cluster is about 6-1/2 magnitude, potentially being a target for bare-eye when in high sky. I never got a confirmed bare-eye sighting. All observations are with at least small binoculars. [The constellation is formally 'Camelopardalis', which is linguisticly the better name. In the 20th century both Camelopardus and Camelopardalis were in circulation. [About two years after discovery, Leif Robinson of Sky & Telescope came across it in Jurgen Stock's list of open clusters. Stock was studying certain red stars in open clusters. Pazmino's Cluster has an obvious orange star in it, altho I don't know if it was suitable for Stock's investigations. His list was not a catalog as such; it was just a table of the particular clusters Stock used in his program. Robinson sent a newsnote about the cluster to Pazmino, appended after the main artcle here. [Stock simply believed that so bright and prominent a group of stars was surely already a well-known deepsky object. He moved on with his program. It is #23 in his list, so you sometimes see it referenced as 'Stock 23'. [Because deepsky objects do not have adjudicated unique names, you may freely call this group by either name. Advocates and supporters of home astronomy use the 'Pazmino's Cluster' name to highlight their fellow's achievement in our profession. Deepsky litterature calls it 'Pazmino's Cluster' with or without other names. [The cluster may not be a bound gravity unit. From HIPPARCOS data its principal stars seem to have different proper motions. In this regard Pazmino's Cluster is like Collindr 399 (Al Sufi's, Brocchi's, Coathanger Cluster) in Vulpecula. It nay dissipate in a few eons. [Silly stories once circulated that somehow I was granted a right of royalty or something, expecting people who look at my cluster to send me a fee. The fee varied with the story-teller from 5 US cents to 10 US dollars. Even at the lower value I would by now be able to hire Donald Trump and Bill Gates as my bootlickers. [Thanks to saner thinking of deepsky observers, I collected exactly zero money in spite of the myriads upon myriads of spectators that my cluster attracted. [One situation that, also thanks to sane minds, never came about. There never was any unbecoming attitude toward Pazmino's Cluster among astronomers. For a few months after my announcement there were some claims of finding new clusters that were merely mistakes or omissions in a particular staratlas but well accounted for in others. [Over the years a couple other home astronomers did find undocumented deepsky objects, so I'm hardly alone in uncovering new residents of the cosmos. [About the worst gripe was that my cluster is always up there (with due regard for season and latitude) for all to enjoy, unlike a comet that flourishes for a few weeks or months and is then gone or asteroid that you must chase after thru the stars here and there. [Some facts & figures for Pazmino's CLuster are: -------------------------------- name | Pazmino's Cluster other names | Stock 23 Right ascen | 03h 16.3m (2000) Declination | +60d 02m (2000) Gal lon | 140.1d Gal lat | +2.1d Visual magn | +6.5, should be bare-eye target Ang diam | 14' Stars | 25 estimate Distance | uncertain, may be in Perseus arm ---------------------------------------------- [Here's my original account of the discovery, issued in November 1977, with only minor touchup. The diagram I drew back then, HERE, is cleaned up and a mistake in labeling the stars is fixed.] = = = = =
[Here begins my discovery article from November 1977.
Donald Trombino and I were stargazing at Don's house in Lake Mohawk, NJ, on Saturday, 3 September 1977, as part of a Labor Day retreat from New York. The air was moist and the scattered light from the City, some 80 kilometers to the southeast, filled nearly the entire sky. The Milky Way, tho plainly visible, was suffuse. It was about 11PM [EDST] when I was swinging Don's 110mm, f4.5 refractor down from Cassiopeia to pick up the Double Cluster in Perseus. With a 40mm eyepiece the field of view was about 6 arcdegrees and the power was about 13; a finder was unnecessary and starhopping was rather easy. But I veered too far north, ran thru Camelopardus, and got temporarily lost. Backtracking a bit, I stumbled onto a misty patch in southwestern Camelopardus -- a comet?! No such luck. Close inspection revealed a neat trapezium of four tiny stars about 10 arcminuutes across --- a cluster! The four stars were equibrilliant, of about the 8th magnitude, and gave a refreshing relief among the otherwise barren plains of the Giraffe. I put on a 12.5mm eyepiece, giving me about 40 power, and lo! The trapezium was sprinkled all over with minute, twinkling stars, about a dozen in all. All were white except one, a mediocre one at that, which sent out a distinct orangy tint. I called Don over. He put down his giant binoculars to take a squint and aahed: "Yes, it is a very pretty cluster!" When I pointed out its place among the stars, he was puzzled and reached for Norton's Atlas to check it out. It wasn't marked on the maps. "Oh, that makes sense", I explained, "I just discovered it." We brought out Howard's Atlas and the cluster wasn't there either. Tho having no other atlases, Don could not believe that there were any clusters not already well documented and catalogued, specially bright ones like this one. The overall magnitude of my cluster was 6 or 6- 1/2. We went back to the refractor and I carefully sketched the fields shown in Figures 1 and 2. The star designations are from Norton's. [The original sketch mislabeled the stars. They are correct here.] Don checked the sketches and agreed with the depictions except that he saw several minute stars I had left out, bringing the cluster's total membership to 16 or 18. From the sketches the position of the cluster is (1950) o RA: 3h 13m, decl: +59 40'. When I returned to my own home in Brooklyn, I looked up the new cluster on the Becvar Atlas only to find that it was absent there, too. In its place was a solitary star indicated by the faintest magnitude symbol which I took to be the brightest star of the cluster. Yet, the SAO Atlas (chart 16), the Verhenberg Atlas (chart 24), and Menzel's Field Guide (chart 3) all show in the proper place a bright, well-defined cluster, trapezium and all. The Verhenberg chart is shown in Figure 3 for comparison with the telescope sketches. Among the catalogs I have, Becvar's, the RNGC, Revue des Constellations, and Webb's Celestial Objects make no mention of it. Indeed, virtually all observing manuals generally disparage Camelopardus as having no bright deep sky objects for amateurs to observe. What cluster is this? Is it really a newly discovered one? = = = = =
[Here begins Leif Robinson's finsings about the cluster]
PREDISCOVERY REFERENCES TO PAZMINO'S CLUSTER ------------------------------------------ 1979 August 1
[Newsnote about Pazmino's Cluster sent to John Pazmino by Leif Robinson of Sky and Telescope in July 1979. 'Eyepiece' was a major astronomy newsletter of the 20th century issued by Amateur Astronomers Association, New York.]
The large, bright open cluster in Camelopardus discovered by Mr John Pazmino had been noted in passing by two earlier observers, according to Mr Dennis DiCicco of Sky and Telescope. The references, Mr DiCicco emphasized, were obscure and seemed to have been made in the course of other work, with the two astronomers not realizing that the cluster had never been openly described and brought to the general attention of the astronomical community. The first reference is by Dr Stock, of Cerro Tololo and European Southern fame, in 1957. He gives an angular diameter of 15 arcminutes, an integrated spectrum of class B6, and the comment that there are no red giants. The second observation was in 1966 by Dr Ruprecht of Czechoslovakia, carried in the Bulletin of that country's Astronomical Institute. It gives only the statement that the cluster is large and coarse. The publication in Eyepiece [1977 November] of a full substantive description of this cluster, painting it out to the astronomical community at large, earned Mr Pazmino credit for its discovery and the cluster now bears his name. = = = = =
THE NEW YORK CLUSTER ------------------ By John Pazmino 2007 May 1 in Celestial Observer 2007 June 1 in SAC Newsletter
[Susan Rose, President of Amateur Observers Society, Long Island, passed along to me a note from one of her members. It related to Pazmino's Cluster mentioned in the Saguaro Astronomy Club, Arizona, newsletter of March 2007. She asked for some elaboration about the cluster, which I sent her. She sent my letter to SAC, where it was published in the SAC newsletter for June 2007. [First is Susan's comment]
In the Constellation Highlight column of the March issue of the Saguaro Astronomy Club newsletter, Dennis Wilde [of AOSNY] spotted a reference to Pazmino's Cluster. We checked with AOS friend John Pazmino, a frequent CO contributor and meeting speaker, to see if he was aware of this. Here is his response:
[Here begins my letter to Susan, with minor editing]
My cluster is up there for anyone to admire. It was one of those studied by Jorges [actually Jurgen] Stock in the 1950s for certain types of stars in them. He never realized that this particular one was as yet unknown. He just assumed it was already in some other catalog because it was so bright and conspicuous. I myself found it in 1977 while visiting Don Trombino, who at that time lived in Sparta NJ. He'd just built an RFT with no finder. I was using its wide field to aim at the Double Cluster when I veered off track and ended up in Camelopardalis, a ways north. A blur skidded through the scope's field of view. I recovered it, hoping it might be a comet, due to the lack of any obvious nebulae in Camelopardalis. It was this lovely star cluster! Among Trombino's books and maps it was missing. On photographs of that part of the sky the cluster is pretty obvious, almost like a dimmer version of the Pleiades. On drawn maps it was just not there, either by label or symbol. When I got home, I looked in my library of maps. The best I found was that on the larger scale charts, individual stars of the cluster were plotted but not otherwise noted, like by a 'cluster' symbol around them. I bounced this finding off of S&T where Leif Robinson went nuts trying to find it in any S&T reference. After a couple weeks, he turned up nothing and allowed that I had discovered a whole star cluster! Not being all that good at inventing titles, I called it Pazmino's Cluster. A year or so later, Leif found the cluster among Stock's work, with nothing to indicate he recognized it as previously unknown. It's #23 in his roster, the only cluster there of any significance for home astronomers. The others are very weak, dilated and sparse. At one of the Winter Star Parties in Florida I was showing the cluster to some of the other attendees, most of who didn't know about the S&T investigation. Most star charts even today still miss it out. Anyway, I got to bantering about Florida, northerners, snowbirds, and all that because the WSP attracts a lot of astronomers from northern frostbite places, like New York and Long Island. So I pointed out the frozen north regions of Ursa Major and Cassiopeia, and the sunny warm sections of Orion, Gemini and Auriga. I pointed out how the snowbirds of the north fly or drive through Camelopardalis to reach the south and have no waypoint to stop at. Then I found my cluster. Now the folks traveling between north and south have this wonderful place to stop over, right in Camelopardalis, halfway along the way. There is one feature of Pazmino's Cluster that as yet I have no confirmation. It SHOULD be a bare-eye target, it being 6 to 6-1/2 magnitude. It's an easy target in binoculars but I never learned of a positive naked-eye sighting. Since then I know of two major clusters found by City astronomers. One is Kimmel's Cluster in Gloria Frederica, found in 1979 by Andrew Kimmel from his backyard in Juniper Valley while following a comet with his scope. It's a fainter, but condensed, cluster, about 7-1/2 magnitude. A third example is Caldwell's Cluster, found AT THE WINTER STAR PARTY in the mid 1990s by Arlene Caldwell, from Lincoln Square, who was ticking off star clusters on a star chart as she spotted them in binoculars. She called me and others over to identify this particular one in Puppis, there being no item on her map for it. Other maps, including computer-based ones at setups for imaging, also missed it. I sketched it and marked it on my own map for checking out when we got home. Similar to Pazmino's Cluster, it appears in photographs of the sky but is left off of plotted maps. It's a large object with about twenty stars in it and could be of naked-eye visibility. At the WSP, I and others tried to see it, after inspecting it in binoculars, with no certain success. The Milky Way passes through this part of Puppis and the cluster may have been blended into it. So, 30 years later, my cluster is still doing just fine. Pazmino's Cluster can be found by going straight north 10 degrees from alpha Persei. Check out the Millennium Star Atlas plate for this area at ~+60 dec, ~3h [RA]. Who will be the first AOSer to spot it, maybe naked eye?
[The newsletter added a note below my letter]
Ed note: Shortly after sending out the March  issue, I was contacted by Sue Rose, one of those nice folks you've never met, except on the internet. Sue is the president of the Amateur Observers Society of New York [on Long Island]. I've been exchanging newsletters with Sue & her club for quite a while now. Well, anyway, she indicated that AJ's [initials of a SAC member] reference to this cluster (Stock 23) was noticed by one of her members. They passed the NL to John Pazmino, who is a friend of the AOSNY. She told me he was very pleased to see that his reference to it is known beyond local circles. The bulk of this article was written by Mr. Pazmino as a commentary on its history as "Pazmino's Cluster". It was taken from the May 2007 issue of the Celestial Observer, the information publication of the Amateur Observers Society of New York. Visit them at www.aosny.org = = = = =