Stacks Image 4832

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Messier 44, The Beehive Cluster

About this object

Messier 44, also known as the Beehive Cluster is located in the constellation Cancer. It contains around 1000 stars and is around 600 light years distant. M44 is a rather young 600million yrs old compared to our sun (4.5 billion yrs) and two exoplanets where discovered in 2012 around two of the cluster's stars. These exoplanets are the hot Jupiter type of gas giants. The brighter orange red giant and hot whitish blue stars of M44 can be seen with the naked eye during winter evenings. This image was shot while the moon was out as I was testing some new software and is composed of 130min of 5min unguided exposures. I've also included an annotated image showing the outline of the cluster and a bunch of background galaxies peppering the image.
Image Details

  • Optics : Stellarvue SVS 130 refractor 655mm FL
  • Mount: Paramount MYT
  • Camera: QSI 683
  • Filters: Astrodon 31mm unmounted RGB filters
  • Exposure: RGB: 50:35:45
  • Camera/Mount Control: Skybox on a Raspberry PI
  • Guiding: Unguided using ProTrack
  • Processing: PixInsight 1.8,
  • Location: Stark Bayou Observatory, Ocean Springs, MS
  • Sky: Typical SQM 19.6-20.0, Bortle 5, Suburban
  • Date: 23 Mar 19
Stacks Image 74
Stacks Image 5333