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A star cluster is a group which can contain up to millions of stars. Star clusters can vary from being loosely bonded (open star clusters) to tightly bonded (globular clusters). Gravitational force keeps these stars together. This makes them one of the most amazing objects in the night sky.
Here is a compilation of some of the amazing astrophotos of star clusters that amateur astronomers have uploaded to our Flickr group. We hope you enjoy them, and consider adding your photos so that we can share them on Universe Today!
The image above features an open star cluster, the Jewel Box. Located 6,440 light years from Earth in the constellation of Crux, the cluster approximately contains about 100 stars. Trevor W. captured this image using a Canon 350d modified with Baader 2” Skyglow filter, GSO CF RC200, f/8, EQ6 Pro, Orion Starshoot Autoguider using PHD with ED80.
Trevor also provided some shooting and processing specs:
Exposure Setting: Prime focus, ISO800 ICNR off Daylight WB
Exposures: 11x180s, 3/8/09 between 7:00 and 8:30pm
Stacking: DSS 10 darks plus flats, no bias applied
See more below!
Jamie Ball obtained this image of Pleiades or Messier 45 from 3 nights of shooting.
“Shooting object from 2:00 – 4:15 am I definitely think adding 50 more mins of lights made the final image a little “smoother”. Shooting the same object multiple nights in a row seems to work well for me!”
Here are some of the specs Jamie provided:
First Night : 34 x 1 min iso 800, 10 x 45 seconds iso 1600
2nd Night : 50 x 55 seconds iso 1600
3rd Night : 50 x 55 seconds iso 1600
Gustavo Sanchez captured this image of the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules (M13) on July 21, 2011. Unlike open star clusters, globular clusters like M13 are closely packed together with stars concentrated at the center.
Here are a few specs provided by Gustavo: Atik 314L+ Color CCD on ED80T-CF APO, Sirius EQ-G mount, Orion SSAG (guide), Baader Planetarium UV/IR filter, exp. 15 x 240 sec, processed at Nebulosity and PS CS4.
Fabrício Siqueira captured this image of Omega Centauri, the brightest and the largest known globular cluster in the night sky, on May 5, 2011 in Brazil. Located 15,800 light-years from Earth, Omega Centauri contains approximately 10 million stars.
The image is a stack of 13 exposures of 30 seconds (ISO1600). Fabricio used a Canon 1000D camera without modification, attached to an 6″ Skywatcher reflector telescope, on a EQ3-2 equatorial mont. The software used to stacking and image edition were the Deep Sky Stacker and Photoshop CS5, respectively.
Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group, post in our Forum or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.