Saturday, December 17, 2016

Messier 38

Messier 38 (M38) is also know as the Starfish Cluster (NGC 1912), is an open star cluster located in constellation Auriga. Also visible is the the cluster NGC 1907 located in the center bottom of the images. M38 is 4,200 light years from Earth. It has an apparent magnitude of 7.4 and is invisible to the naked eye. The estimated age of the cluster is 220 million years. The brightest star in M38 is a yellow giant with an apparent magnitude of 7.9. The absolute magnitude of -1.5 making it 900 times more luminous than the Sun. (source: Messier Objects)

Imaging this was quite easy once I got it in my camera's view. It was cold and the moon was starting to show itself but it was not overwhelming.  What was difficult was the processing.  I did two DSS versions, one with 15% saturation and another with 30% saturation in order to collect the nebulosity. I should have tried for even more data to make the processing less of a headache. Oh well! I improved my processing skills in PS as a result. I very happy I had the modified camera (Hap Griffin) otherwise I would not have collected and nebulosity.

I once again watched one of Ian Norman's Lonely Speck tutorial video's over again and again until I was able to do some of the things he makes look easy.  Basically I processed the 15% image for the stars to get the main background image. Next I made a separate layer out of the 30% image to for the nebulosity and then blended it with the 15% image.  If any of that that makes sense, great.

This represents the 49th Messier Object I have captured. The rest can be found at: or

Image 1 - Processed 15% DSS Saturation

Image 2 - Processed 15% DSS Saturation with 30% Nebula blended

Image 3 - Cropped, Processed 15% DSS Saturation with 30% Nebula blended

Image 4 - Closeup, Processed 15% DSS Saturation

Image 5 - 30% DSS Saturation

M38 - The Starfish Cluster (NGC 1912)
Location: Happy Frog Observatory, Monroe, CT
Date/Time: 12/08/16 11:45 pm
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T3i(a), Backyard EOS
Telescope: Orion ED80 80mm f/7.5 Apochromatic Refractor Telescope
Barlow: None
Focal Length: 600mm
Mount: Orion Sirius EQ-G GoTo Telescope Mount
Filter: Astrodon UV/IR
Autoguiding: QHY-5L-II-M attached to an Agena 50mm Guide Scope with Helical Focuser
Exposure: 17 x 120 sec (34 min)
ISO: 800
Temp: 25 C
Post Processing: Deep Sky Stacker, Photoshop, Lightroom, StarTools, Astrophotography Tools

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