Messier 50 is an open cluster in Monoceros. It is not often photographed and is located not far from the more popular Rosette Nebula.
Object Designation: M50
Object Type: Open Cluster
Distance: 2,870 light-years away
Discovered in: 1772
The open cluster Messier 50 is made up of about 200 stars. It is bright but pretty loose so it is not possible to see it with the naked eye. In photographs, M50 lacks any exciting feature and so is rarely imaged by the amateur astrophotography community.
Most of the stars in Messier 50 appear faint blue, with some bright orange members near the edges.
As you can see on the image on the left, the cluster pops up pretty nicely against the dark background but is not really dense. Some of the stars are really far from the center of the object.
Let's face it, M50 is not an exciting object to image, but it still deserves some love!
The image below is our result of M50. It is only one hour of total exposure and was taken from a Bortle 4 zone. Some type of very small nebula can be seen halfway between the cluster and the bottom right edge.
Messier 50 with the QHY600C
Telescope: Stellarvue SVX130
Mount: Paramount MyT
Guiding: ZWO ASI 290MM Mini
Accessories: Moonlite Nightcrawler focuser
Total Exposure Time: 1 hour
Exposure Time per frame: 30 seconds
How to find Messier 50?
M50 is located in the constellation Monoceros, about 3,000 light-years away from Earth.
It is very close to the brightest star in the sky, Sirius and so is pretty easy to find.
Although you may be able to pinpoint its location, it is not possible to see with the naked eye and is difficult to observe with a pair of binoculars. The fact that Sirius is so bright and so close does not help!
Processing Messier 50
Messier 50 was a very easy target to process. It is just a simple cluster with nothing special going on so there was no tricks used in PixInsight. It took barely 30 to 40 minutes to process from beginning to end.
Below is what a 30-second single shot of this object looks like, if you are interested in knowing!
I went through our basic processing workflow to process this object as it is a simple cluster. But if you are interested in learning how I process all our more difficult images, you can download a full PDF "follow along" file that contains 77 pages, a full 1 hour and 45 minutes walkthrough tutorial video, our custom presets and even raw data HERE.
Messier 50 is... an okay open cluster. Not going to lie, it is not the most exciting deep sky object out there, but we treat it with equal love and respect as all the other targets (mostly because we needed it for our Messier table)!
We chose not to make this image available as a print because it does not meet our quality standards, but check out the prints we have for other images HERE!
Have you captured Messier 50? Attach your image in the comments and let us know your acquisition details!
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