Skies By Africa

Images of the Heavens By Eric Africa

Open Clusters

I like open clusters, especially visually. While any deep sky object benefits from dark skies and/or aperture, open clusters tend to show well even from my back yard. I also like open clusters because there was many an episode during my visual observing days when I wished I could take pictures of these objects to share with friends and family. So I can say that open clusters helped pave the way for imaging to me.

I don't like open clusters. When imaging other deep space objects, stars usually take a back seat to the processing (not that I should ignore them). When imaging open clusters, it's all about the stars, so I have to take extra steps to make sure I get their colors correct and that they're not too harsh or too soft.

I like open clusters. They are relatively easy to shoot from a light-polluted site. While best results will be achieved shoot from a dark site, reasonable results can be achieved from even my back yard. The only penalty will be the density of the surrounding star fields.

Given this dichotomy of love/hate regarding open clusters, my results have leaned so far in the "don't like" camp. I only have a few open cluster images reasonably all right to share. But I hope to add to the list over time, especially as I slowly accept that I can image them with decent results even from my light-polluted back yard.

Open Clusters M34 M44 M44
Double Cluster Double Cluster The Pleiades The Pleiades