Try increasing gamma if dark sections aren't distinguished

Try increasing gamma if dark sections aren't distinguished

Sunday, October 2, 2016

open cluster Messier 29, the pants cluster?

M 29 is an open cluster in cygnus:

relatively bright, an easy target for a small telescope or binoculars
the 5 brightest stars are B0 giants, 160,000 times brighter than the sun

a wider field caught some faint nebulosity 

(upper right, click on images below for full size):

so i shot some Hydrogen alpha images

to dress it up:

in doing a web search on this
i came across (trigger warning) this bizarre image  which links to a youtube video

by British astronomer Pete Lawrence. 
apparently pants is slang for "not good" and normally refers to "underpants".

anyway what he's getting at is that it's not the most impressive cluster out there.
part of the reason for this is that intervening dust obscures the light from these stars by a factor of 1000.  furthermore, the cluster sits in  cygnus, a section of the sky very rich in background stars.  

that being said, in my long focal length SCT (high power/narrow field) it's a nicely defined object whereas most open clusters are too big to be encompassed by the SCT's field

i shot it mainly as a test of my short focal length refractor
which didn't turn out that well as evidenced by these ugly distorted stars in the corners that i had to crop out:

Imaging details:
Takahashi FS-60C F/4.2
Starlight Xpress Trius 694 3.7"/px
astrodon 5nm Ha, RGB E-series filters
Ha 36x5 min, RGB 20x1 minute each channel

Eastbluff, CA