M52 – Open Cluster

This open cluster can be found around the edge of the boarder of the constellation Cassiopeia, right between Cassiopeia and Cepheus. M52’s distance from Earth is uncertain due to interstellar absorption of light, but is estimated to be around 3,000 to 7,000 light-years away (usually listed as 5,000) spanning a diameter of 20 light-years across. Open clusters are older clusters of stars, and this cluster is estimated to be around 35 million years old. Charles Messier discovered M52 on September 7, 1774 as the comet of that year was passing by this open cluster.

‘X’ marks the spot of M52

My Observation: A bit faint in the eyepiece, but due to it’s grouped stars it made it easy to distinguish it from other stars in the area. Many of the stars of the cluster were very faint or not visible at all. Knowing I had M52 in my sights and that NGC 7635, the Bubble Nebula, was nearby I tried to see if I could spot this faint nebula, but being a dim magnitude of 11 I was unable to see it, and it only showed up in images after a bit of processing in Photoshop.

M52 and NGC 7635

This image of M52 is 12 images at 60second exposures and ISO800 to keep from getting a picture with too much noise. Also included is 10 dark frames. In Photoshop I followed a tutorial on creating Artificial Flat Frames to reduce vignetting to help me bring out more detail in the faint Bubble Nebula, and reduce sky glow from light pollution.

Omni XLT 150
Canon 350D
T-ring adapter

2 thoughts on “M52 – Open Cluster

  1. Pingback: M31 – Andromeda Part 2 | Adirondack Astronomy

  2. Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. Prehistoric cultures left behind astronomical artifacts such as the Egyptian monuments and Nubian monuments, and early civilizations such as the Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese, Indians, Iranians and Maya performed methodical observations of the night sky. However, the invention of the telescope was required before astronomy was able to develop into a modern science. Historically, astronomy has included disciplines as diverse as astrometry, celestial navigation, observational astronomy, and the making of calendars, but professional astronomy is nowadays often considered to be synonymous with astrophysics.’

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