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M44 Open Cluster in Cancer

Technical card

Resolution: 1696x1436

Dates: March 13, 2016

Frames: 21x120"

Integration: 0.7 hours

Avg. Moon age: 4.48 days

Avg. Moon phase: 21.04% job: 1009633

RA center: 129.935 degrees

DEC center: 19.632 degrees

Pixel scale: 2.875 arcsec/pixel

Orientation: 179.997 degrees

Field radius: 0.887 degrees

Locations: The Hills Observatory, Manchester, United Kingdom


A very quick image to take when compared to nebulae and galaxies. Just used RGB filters at Bin 2x2. North is at the top.

You may wondering how I got the diffraction spikes with a refractor? Well I think for some objects these spikes can enhance the image. But I don't like the idea of adding them afterwards in Photoshop. So instead I made a spider similar to one that is fitted to Newtonian telescope so that the spikes are produced in the telescope, so no post processing required.

As the spikes take light that was destined to form the round star image is now spread out, this actually de-saturates the stars core so they are not burned out and they retain the stars colour much better. Also the diffraction spikes produced this way are much more natural looking.

I would be interested to know what your thoughts are about this. Does it improve the image? I can't show you how it would look without the spikes as these are the only subs I took.




Mike Oates

Sky plot

Sky plot


M44 Open Cluster in Cancer, Mike Oates