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Author Topic: Cut your teeth on Open Clusters  (Read 1556 times)

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Online chris.bailey

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Cut your teeth on Open Clusters
« on: 10:23:30, 25 February, 2013 »
Many beginners head straight for the favourites (M31, M45, M42) and though very fine objects, they are a challenge to image well, and some of the easier jewels tend to get overlooked. Open clusters may not have the wow of M42 but they can be very rewarding.

Open clusters are a great beginners object as they respond well to (in fact they rely on) short exposures. They work well on unmodded DSLR's, One Shot Colour or Mono CCD imaging. In short they are the perfect practice object. The key to a good open cluster image is to maintain star colour which means not saturating those colourful red stars. 45-60 second exposures are perfect for most. Focus is critical as the range of star size as well as the colour brings them to life.

The double cluster (NGC869/884) in Perseus frames well on an 80mm scope and DSLR and is at high elevations from the UK in the winter months. Being well above the horizon also helps maintain star colour. A good double cluster image shows a great range of star size and colour http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090103.html shows this well.

Messier object M34 is another fine open cluster in Perseus deserving of a visit in a star filled area of the sky, it will test your focussing skills. Lots of short exposures are needed to do this one full justice



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