Category Archives: Open Clusters

Messier 36 Open Cluster in the Constellation Auriga

Messier 36 (M36 or NGC 1960) lies at a distance of about 4,100 light years away from Earth and is about 14 light years across. There are at least sixty members in the cluster. The cluster is very similar to the Pleiades cluster (M45), and if it were the same distance from Earth it would be of similar magnitude.

Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX90, Celestron CGEM-DX mount, Canon 6D stock camera, Antares Focal Reducer, ISO 3200, 13 x 60 seconds using Backyard EOS with darks and bias frames, guided using an Orion 60mm guide scope with an attached ZWO ASI290MC camera. Image Date: December 14, 2017. Location: The Dark Side Observatory in Weatherly, PA.

…Tom

NGC 206 – A Huge Open Cluster in the Andromeda Galaxy

NGC 206 is a huge open cluster found in one of the spiral arms of the Andromeda Galaxy. It is composed of about 300 super bright blue supergiant stars. This object presented a lot of difficulty, at least for me, to resolve the individual stars and took several imaging sessions to get the right composition of images.

From the information I found, this cluster spans over 4000 light years and the stars are probably less than 10 million years old.

Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX90, Celestron CGEM-DX mount, Canon 6D stock camera, 85-minutes combined exposures at ISO 2500 and IISO 3200 using 60 seconds, guided using a Canon 400mm f/5.6 lens with an attached ZWO ASI290MC camera. Image Dates: October and November 2017. Location: The Dark Side Observatory in Weatherly, PA.

…Tom

NGC 1245 Open Cluster in the Constellation Perseus

NGC 1245 is a beautiful open cluster that is found in the constellation Perseus. Visible with binoculars, the majority of the stars in this cluster hover around magnitude 12.

Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX90, Celestron CGEM-DX mount, Canon 6D stock camera, ISO 3200, 27 x 60 seconds using Backyard EOS with darks and bias frames, guided using a Canon 400mm lens with an attached ZWO ASI290MC camera. Image Date: November 24, 2017. Location: The Dark Side Observatory in Weatherly, PA.

…Tom

Open Cluster NGC 6802 Near the Coathanger Asterism

NGC 6802 is a tight little open cluster right next to Brocchi’s Cluster (a.k.a. Coathanger Asterism) in the constellation Vulpecula. I always picked this up on wide-field shots of the region, but this is the first time I put the big scope on this target. Dreyer’s original description of this cluster was Cl, L, vC, E 0deg, st 14…18 which translates to cluster, large, very compressed, extended to zero degrees, stars magnitude range from 14 to 18.

Open Cluster NGC 6802 Near the Coathanger Asterism

Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX90, Celestron CGEM-DX mount, Canon 6D stock camera, ISO 2500, 14 x 60 seconds using Backyard EOS with darks and bias frames, guided using a Canon 400mm lens with an attached ZWO ASI290MC camera. Image Date: October 19, 2017. Location: The Dark Side Observatory in Weatherly, PA.

…Tom

Open Cluster NGC 1444 in Perseus

Just happened to select this small open cluster in between some longer imaging sessions. The cluster showed up pretty well with a single 60-second exposure, so only collected 8-minutes total. The cluster is dominated with magnitude 11-13 stars, not very impressive. The cluster is centered around a 6.7 magnitude star designated HD 23675 (a binary star). I actually see three stars in this system at magnitudes 12 and 9.9 (see inset). From the material I found, this star appears to be in front of the actual cluster and not part of it.

Open Cluster NGC 1444 in Perseus

Tech Specs: Meade 12” LX90, Celestron CGEM-DX mount, Canon 6D stock camera, ISO 3200, 8 x 60 seconds using Backyard EOS with darks and bias frames, guided using a Canon 100mm lens with an attached ZWO ASI290MC camera. Image Date: November 21, 2017. Location: The Dark Side Observatory in Weatherly, PA.

Clear skies!

…Tom

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