Star Clusters

Below you will find all our photos of star clusters. We imaged many clusters on our hunt to capture all Messier objects. The Messier catalog contains 56 Star Clusters, 29 globular clusters and 27 open clusters.

Many of the images below we taken in just about one hour, as we often selected a random cluster to end the night as a secondary target before packing up. Although most of these look beautiful even with such a low total exposure time, some others are more complex and required more time in order to look beautiful. That is the case of the famous Pleiades Cluster (M45) which contains nebulous gas illuminated by the stars.

Click on a photograph to read more about the target and know all the gear we used as well as all the acquisition details. We hope this will help you plan your own hunt! 

Remember, many star clusters may seem boring, but they are part of our beautiful sky and should not be ignored, so go out there and give them some love!

How Many Types of Star Clusters are there?

There are four types of star clusters known, but the last two types are not found in our Milky Way galaxy and so for Astrophotography purposes, you should only remember the first two! 

  • 1) Globular Clusters

    In two words, Globular Clusters are old and rich.

     

    These almost always appear round and very busy. There are about 150 globular clusters in our Milky Way.

    Do you think that living on a planet orbiting one of these stars means it is always daytime? 

    Imaging hundreds of "suns" in your sky, 24/7.

  • M45 low.jpg

    2) Open Clusters

    Unlike Globular Clusters, these are young and much less populated.

     

    1,100 and counting Open Clusters have been discovered in our Milky Way galaxy, the most famous ones being the Pleiades and the nearby Hyades, both easily visible to the naked eye.

    Most open clusters are usually home to just a few thousand stars, loosely bound by gravity.

  • 3) Intermediate Clusters

    Only a few of these types of clusters were discovered, and they were all in M31 (The Andromeda Galaxy).

    Intermediate Clusters look like Globular clusters, but are much, much larger and there is more space between each star.

     

    These are so huge than they are defined as being between a globular cluster and a dwarf galaxy.

  • 4) Faint Fuzzies

    Finally, the last type of star clusters are faint fuzzies.

     

    Just like Intermediate Clusters, these are much larger and are not found in the Milky Way.

     

    They were only discovered in lenticular galaxies and appear to be located in the ring area around the galaxy's center.

Star Cluster Astrophotography

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