Category Archives: Star Clusters

Globular Cluster M79 in Lepus

Globular Cluster M79 in Lepus, Feb 23, 2017, 02:10 UT. 18×120 sec @ ISO 1600, TV-85 at F/5.6, Canon T3, Atlas EQ-G w/EQMOD.

M79 is one of those globulars that sometimes gets glossed over for all the goodies in Orion, which is right above Lepus.  I can’t remember shooting it in the past, but I may have something on it that I just don’t quite know where or when.

This is a 100% crop of the central area of the frame.   It lies in a field that is full of faint fuzzies, including NGC 1886, which is like a miniature version of famous edge-on galaxies NGC 4565 or NGC 891.   It got cropped out in this view, unfortunately.

Markarian’s Galaxy Chain Area with Ultra-Mini Finder

Markarians Galaxy Chain Area – 30×15 sec, Ultra-Mini finder with AR0130 Toupcam color guider/camera.

Here is another one of those experiments I do.  LoL.  This time it was with a software program called SharpCap.  It can capture images from planetary/guider cameras like the Touptek, ASI or ZWO cameras.   Sharpcap’s claim to fame is the ability to stack the images you take on the fly so that you can almost get a “live-view” like experience.  I thought it was neat and easy to use.

This is only 7.5 minutes worth of exposure, so it is not really that deep.   But, it is interesting to be able to get this much with an under $200 camera and a small finder scope.

I also captured 7 x 15 sec exposures of M13 in a live stack.   Not quite enough data in the stack for good star colors with just 1.75 minutes of exposure , unfortunately.    But, it shows the globular well enough.    Check it out:

M13 Globular. 7×15 sec, Toupcam AR0130 guider/camera, Ultra-mini finder.

M44, the Beehive – Open Cluster in Cancer

The Beehive Cluster – M44 in Cancer. 59×5 sec, Orion Ultra-Mini 30mm F/4.3 guidescope, Toupcam AR130 Color guide camera.

Here’s something I’ve been wanting to try.  I used my new guidescope and color guide camera combo to take images of the Beehive in Cancer.   It looked great on the screen with 5 second exposures.

I used the ToupSky capture software, which shoots continuous frames and saves each frame in an AVI movie file.    Then, I imported the AVI file into IRIS and treated the data like I was processing a planetary image.   It worked great and it was fast to process, too.

Color balance could be better, but I think I can fix that before I start recording by tweaking the settings in the ToupSky software.  Now that I know it can be done, I’ll probably try this again the next time the weather is clear.

For fun, I combined the above image with one taken with my TV-85 back in 2015.  Check it out:

TV-85 data combined with the Ultra-Mini Guidescope/Toupcam combo.

M67 Open Cluster in Cancer

M67 Open Cluster in Cancer. Taken on Jan 29, 2017. 38×60 sec @ ISO 400, TV-85 at F/5.6, Canon T3, Atlas EQ-G w/EQMOD.

With the heavy light pollution (LP) I’ve had to deal with where I’m imaging from lately, I decided a few open clusters would be better targets than anything too faint like nebulae and galaxies.  At around 10:30 pm on this particular night, M67 was in perfect position to be imaged.

The LP limited me to 1 minute exposures at ISO 400, so it is not a very deep image.   Getting rid of the LP in processing knocks the colors out and I had to work hard to get a little of the colors back.   Oh, well… at least I’m able to get something useful out of the data.


M35 Open Cluster in Gemini

M35 on Jan 29, 2017. Full frame. 50×60 sec @ ISO 400, TV-85 at F/5.6, Canon T3, Atlas EQ-G w/EQMOD.
M35 on Jan 29, 2017. Cropped and rotated north up. 50×60 sec @ ISO 400, TV-85 at F/5.6, Canon T3, Atlas EQ-G w/EQMOD. Additional 50% blend with image from SN-8.

Two versions of data obtained on Jan 29, 2017 in very light polluted conditions.   The full frame is oriented north to the left and the crop has been rotated to north is up.