Star Cluster Astrophotography
We have imaged many star clusters on our hunt to capture all Messier objects. The Messier catalog contains 56 Star Clusters, 29 globular clusters, and 27 open clusters.
For star clusters, we recommend spending an hour of total exposure time. Even with a low total exposure time they look great, however, some are complex and require more time. The Pleiades Cluster (M45) is a great example because it contains nebulous gas illuminated by the stars.
Further below you will find posts on star clusters we have imaged. Read more about the target, the gear we used, as well as all the acquisition details.
How Many Types of Star Clusters are there?
There are four types of star clusters known but only two types are found in the Milky Way galaxy. These are Globular Clusters and Open Clusters. The other two are found far out of our galaxy: Intermediate and Faint Fuzzies.
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?
Imagine hundreds of "suns" in your sky, 24/7.
2) Open Clusters
Unlike Globular Clusters, these are young and much less populated.
1,100 (and counting) Open Clusters have been discovered in the Milky Way galaxy. The most famous ones are the Pleiades and the nearby Hyades, both easily visible to the naked eye.
Most are home to just a few thousand stars, loosely bound by gravity.
3) Intermediate Clusters
Only a few of these types of clusters have been discovered, and they were all in M31 (The Andromeda Galaxy).
They look like Globular clusters but are much larger and there is significantly more space between each star.
These clusters are so huge that they are defined as being between a globular cluster and a dwarf galaxy.
4) Faint Fuzzies
Another type of star cluster we can't see is faint fuzzies.
Just like Intermediate Clusters, these are much larger in size and are not found in the Milky Way.
They have only been discovered in lenticular galaxies and appear to be located in the ring area around the galaxy's center.
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Star Cluster Astrophotography Resources
Check out all the star cluster photographs we've taken in the posts below. We outline what gear we used, the time spent on each targets, and the acquisition details.