|Double Cluster in Perseus
Balance and harmony in the celestial symphony? No objects fulfill this promise better than the Double Cluster in Perseus. Without a
doubt, these are among finest objects accessible to small telescopes. The two clusters glitter as a pair of matched celestial jewels, even
more beautiful through a telescope than any image can capture. Despite their distance of 7,300 light years from Earth, they are clearly
visible to the naked eye from suburban or rural areas, glowing as a faint patch of light midway beween the constellations Cassiopeia and
About 13 million years ago, 300 young suns emerged in each of two groups from a single large cloud of gas and dust. We can only guess
why these stars separated into two groups, which is unique among star clusters.
My current image of the Double Cluster (above) used an ST-2000XM camera through a Takahashi Sky90 refractor and Takahashi reducer
to get a large field-of-view. The image was taken at the Hidden Lake Observatory, using multiple 2 minute exposures unbinned, for total
exposure times of 30 minutes each of red, green, and blue. Four years earlier, I imaged the Double Cluster (below) with an ST-10XME
camera on a 4" refractor, using an LRGB composite of 57-L, 14-R, 14-G, and 20-B one-minute exposures. RGB images were binned 2x2.
Music: When you wish upon a star...