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M11 - The Wild Duck Cluster | Astrophotography Tips & Pictures

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

M11, also known as the Wild Duck Cluster, is an open cluster in the constellation

Scutum. It got its name because the brightest stars in the cluster seem to form a triangle resembling a flock of ducks flying. M11 is one of the most compact and star-rich clusters out there, with about 2,900 stars. In this post, you will find information, images, and tips to photograph Messier 11.

Object Designation: M11, NGC 6705

Also known as: The Wild Duck Cluster

Constellation: Scutum

Object Type: Open Cluster

Distance: 6,120 light-years away

Magnitude: 5.8

Discovery: Gottfried Kirch in 1681

The M11 cluster is easy to capture for beginner astrophotographers, and makes a great Messier target that does not require many hours of integration time to look nice. M11 is best observed during the Summer months.


Messier 11 and Messier 26 Mosaic Astrophotography

August 2023

Six years after my last capture of M11, it was time to image it again but with better equipment and refined skills!

After putting together a 4-panel mosaic of Rho Ophiuchi, I couldn't wait to do another mosaic but couldn't decide on the next target. I settled on both M11 and M26 as they were close to each other and sinking lower in the sky each passing day.

I used my gear at Utah Desert Remote Observatories and went for a 2-panel mosaic. I kept it simple, spending just 4 hours on each panel, making it a total of 8 hours of integration time. The telescope's fast focal ratio (f/2) and the observatory's dark Bortle 2 skies were a big help!

The result turned out pretty awesome. You can see lots of those dark Milky Way clouds in the background. Don't forget to check out the full-resolution image by clicking on the picture below!

M11 and M26 mosaic astrophotography


Camera: ZWO ASI2600MC

Telescope: Celestron RASA 8

Mount: 10Micron GM1000 HPS

Processing: Pixinsight, with R-C Astro plugins. Final touches in Skylum Luminar Neo