The Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884)

Double Cluster
All Images Copyright Steve Cannistra

Please click here or on image for a higher resolution view.

Magnitude:  6.1
Size: About 30' each cluster
Distance: 7100 light years for NGC 869; 7400 light years for NGC 884
RA: 02h 22m 32s
Dec: 57 degrees 08' 38"

The famous Double Cluster in Perseus was first cataloged by the Greek astronomer Hipparcos in 130 BC.  These beautiful, young open clusters are filled with hot blue stars and are separated by only a few hundred light years from each other.  More information about the Double Cluster may be found here.

Photographic Details:

Date:  November 6, 2004
Takahashi Sky 90 at f4.5 with field flattener/focal reducer, on the G11 Losmandy Mount.  I made a circular rim out of PVC tubing which fitted over the dew shield of the Sky90 and permitted placement of an elastic band to form an "X".  This created the star spikes shown above for the brighter stars.  A photograph of this device is shown here (this could also be accomplished with kite string or fishing line).
Autoguider:  SBIG STV with e-finder.
Camera:  SXV-H9
Astronomik Type II R, G, B, plus clear filter set.
Exposures:  L:R:G:B.  8 x 2' for Luminance (clear filter), R, G, and B (16 minutes total for each filter), all unbinned.
Conditions:  Temperature 40 degrees F; average transparency; below average seeing; a bit breezy; occasional high, thin clouds passing through.
No darks, flats, or bias frames used.  Alignment done in ImagesPlus.  Sigma combined using RC Sigma Reject Plug-in for MaximDL.  DDP was performed in ImagesPlus (IP).  Lucy-Richardson deconvolution of the luminance layer was performed in IP and was superior to simple unsharp masking for this image.  Subsequent levels and curves adjustments in Photoshop CS (16 bit format).

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