Skies By Africa

Images of the Heavens By Eric Africa


Perseus, home to such wonders as the California Nebula, also harbors just this one Messier object, open cluster M34. Perseus also hosts the more famous Double Cluster, so M34 tends to be overlooked for those more famous clusters.

M34 is home to about 100 stars, all about 250 million years old (newborns compared with the Sun's 4+ billion years!). All these 100 stars are crowded together into a region of space just 10 light-years across.

This image is a relatively short "first proper light" for my Vixen VC200L. Notice that my open cluster images tend to be "first light" images? This is again a testament to the fact that they are bright enough to get good results from short exposures!
Constellation: Perseus
When Visible: November - April
Distance: 1,500 Light-years
Date: November 2009
Location: West Chester, Ohio
Exposure Details:
L: 8 x 3 Minutes Binned 1x1
R: 8 x 3 Minutes Binned 1x1
G: 8 x 3 Minutes Binned 1x1
B: 8 x 3 Minutes Binned 1x1
Equipment Used: Vixen VC200L on an Astro-Physics AP1200GTO mount. SBIG ST-10XME camera with 5-position filter wheel and Astrodon LRGB filters. Self-guided.
Acquisition Software : MaximDL, TheSky6
Processing Software: MaximDL, Photoshop CS, IrFanView