M44 - Central "V" Asterism Splashy Open Cluster in Cancer

Uploaded 4/1/11

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Select an image size for a larger view: 1290 x 960 1600 x 1200

 These two images represent the central third or so of the large splashy open cluster in Cancer known as the "Bee Hive Cluster". Gold and blue super sized suns rule this central region, with a background of half a dozen faint background galaxies, which offer a rich visual challenge for owners of large amateur telescopes. The left panel here is the unlabeled image, with the background set normally. On the right is a slightly lighter version, with the brightest (i.e. 15th magnitude) galaxies circled in red, with the visual magnitudes listed below them. They range in brightness from 15.6 to 17.5 and are a super challenge for scopes of at least 12 inches in aperture visually. The additional galaxies Ive circled in green were not in the Megastar data base, but are in the range of 18th and 19th magnitude.

Cluster Description:

 One of the closest open star clusters to Earth, this large and splashy assemblage of stars hosts over 50 cluster members with an integrated magnitude of 3.1. With a size of over 95 arc minutes, it fits nicely within this 1.5 degree field of view seen on this page with my 8" Astrograph. Consisting of mostly blue super giants, the cluster is also home to dozens of K type orange giants as well - one forming the tip of the prominent V shaped asterism in the clusters center.

Optics: 12.5" f/5 Newtonian - Lumicon Coma Corrector Platform: Astrophysics AP1200 Camera: Hutech Modified Canon XTi @ ISO800 Exposure: 3 x 5m Location: Payson, Arizona Elevation: 5150 ft. Sky: Seeing 8/10, Transparency 8/10 Outside Temperature: 35F Processing Tools: Photoshop CS2, Images Plus 3.82 HOME GALAXIES EMISSION NEBS REFLECTION NEBS COMETS GLOBULARS OPEN CLUST PLANETARIES LINKS