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Eagle Creek Observatory
"Teaching young minds about the heavens"
The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
Psalm 19:1-2



Open Clusters

"The Wild Duck Cluster" - M11 10x30 sec ISO 400 Meade LX-90

This cluster, in the constellation of Scutum, is one of the most compact of all of the galactic (open) clusters. It almost looks like a globular cluster. It lies at a distance of about 6000 lightyears.
M11 was discovered in 1681 by the German astronomer Gottfried Kirch of the Berlin observatory. It contains mostly very hot B-type stars.
m11

M38 10x30 sec ISO 400 Meade LX-90

This cluster, in the constellation of Auriga, was discovered by Giovanni Batista Hodierna before 1654. It lies at a distance of about 4200 lightyears. Most of the stars in this cluster are bright main sequence G-Type stars around magnitude 10 and 12.
m38

M45, The Pleiades 10 X 240 Sec. Canon 10D ISO 800, LXD-55 piggyback

This cluster, in the constellation of Taurus, has been known since antiquity. It is one of two "constellations" mentioned in The Bible. It lies at a distance of about 380 lightyears. Also known as The Seven Sisters, this Open Cluster is often confused with the Little Dipper. The Seven Sisters are the daughteres of "father" Atlas and "mother" Pleione: Alcyone, Asterope (a double star), Electra, Maia, Merope, Taygeta and Celaeno.

Click on the image for a widefield view. 1539 X 1016 -- 500k
M45

M46 10x60 sec ISO 1600 Meade LX-90

This cluster, in the constellation of Puppis, was discovered 1771 by Charles Messier. It lies at a distance of about 5400 lightyears. This Open Cluster has a very distinguishing feature of a small, dim planetary nebula NGC 2438 at Magnitude 10.0, just to the left of center. This planetary nebula is probably not a part of the cluster. Open Clusters are groups of mostly young stars that formed together from the same cloud of gases. Planetary nebulae are usually older stars that are in the process of dying. It is an interesting alignment. Move your mouse over the image to point it out. Click on the image for a larger version.
m46

M52 10x30 sec ISO 400 Meade LX-90

This cluster, in the constellation of Cassiopeia, was discovered by Charles Messier in 1774. It lies at a distance of about 5000 lightyears. Most of the stars in this cluster are bright main sequence G-Type stars around magnitude 11 and 12. There are a couple giant yellow F-Type stars around magnitude 8 that are quite visible.
m52

M103 10x30 sec ISO 400 Meade LX-90

This cluster, in the constellation of Cassiopeia, was discovered by Pierre Méchain in 1781. It lies at a distance of about 8500 lightyears. This cluster contains a large and bright Carbon Star, magnitude 11, that is pretty obvious in the center of this photo.
m103



Globular Clusters

M5
8x30 sec ISO 800 Meade LX-90

This cluster lies at a distance of about 25,000 lightyears in the constellation of Serpens.
Globular cluster M5 was first seen by Gottfried Kirch and his wife Maria Margarethe on May 5, 1702. M5 contains a large number of variable stars. The bright yellow star in the top left is SAO 120946.
m5

"The Great Globular Cluster in Hercules" - M13
10x30 sec ISO 800 Meade LX-90

This cluster lies at a distance of about 25,000 lightyears in the constellation of Hercules.
It was discovered by Edmond Halley in 1714, yes he's the comet guy. If you have dark skies and the moon is absent you can just see this cluster with your eyes as a small fuzzy patch.
m13

M15
15x30 sec ISO 800 Meade LX-90

This cluster lies at a distance of about 33,600 lightyears in the constellation of Pegasus.
It was discovered by Jean-Dominique Maraldi on September 7, 1746.
m15

M22
10x30 sec ISO 800 Meade LX-90

This cluster lies at a distance of about 10,000 lightyears in the constellation of Sagittarius.
It was discovered by Abraham Ihle in 1665. For those who are in more southern latitudes this globular cluster is actually brigher than M13 and is easier to see with the naked eye than M13.

My color balance was a bit different in this picture so it's not as blue, I plan to shoot another set soon so that it is the "right" color.
m22



Emission Nebulae

"The Dumbbell Nebula" - M27 30x30 sec ISO 800 Meade LX-90

This nebula was originally discovered by Charles Messier in 1764. It lies about 1250 lightyears away in the constellation of Vulpecula. The 14th magnitude central star is visible in this photograph.
m27

"The Great Orion Nebula" - M42 5x60 sec ISO 3200, Canon 10D, resize, no other processing, Meade LX-90

This truly is a "Great" nebula. It is one of the few DSOs that can be seen with the naked eye. Discovered 1610 by Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc. It lies about 1600 lightyears away in the constellation of Orion. It is located in the "sword" of Orion and lies in a large complex of dust and emission nebulae running almost the entire length of the sword.
m42

"The Ring Nebula" - M57 10x30 sec ISO 800 Meade LX-90

This is possibly one of the most widely recognized of Charles Messier's catalog items. This nebula was originally discovered by Antoine Darquier de Pellepoix in 1779. It lies about 2700 lightyears away in the constellation of Lyra. The 14.7 magnitude central star is barely visible in this photograph. If you have a very good imagination you might be able to see the very faint galaxy IC-1296. Move your mouse over the image to point it out.
m57



Galaxies
M77 25x30 sec ISO 800 Meade LX-90
Discovered 1780 by Pierre Méchain, this is a great little galaxy that's easy to find. It is pretty bright at magnitude 8.9 and pretty tight. It lies about 60 million lightyears away in the constellation of Cetus.
m77
M51 Whirlpool Galaxy 25x30 Meade DSI, Meade LX-90
Discovered October 13, 1773 by Charles Messier. It is pretty bright at magnitude 8.4 and lies about 37 million lightyears away in the constellation of Canes Venatici.
m51
M31 Great Andromeda Galaxy
10 X 3 Min, Canon 10D 85mm lens piggy-back on a Meade LXD-55

It is very bright (for a galaxy) at magnitude 3.4 and lies about 2.9 million lightyears away in the constellation of Andromeda.

It is one of the most distant objects you can see with the naked eye.

Click on the image for the full sized original. You can see M33 the Triangulum Galaxy in the bottom left of the image and NGC 752 at the middle left.
m31


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Constellation images created using TheSky
available from Bisque Software

Last Update 08/20/2007
©2001-2007 Kevin Muenzler, Eagle Creek Observatory.