M30 - A Globular Cluster in Capricornus

Messier 30 is a bright globular cluster that is not easily visible for Northern hemisphere observers as it lies in the Southern constellation Capricornus and so does not rise much in the horizon. It has a magnitude of 7.7 and is about 93 light-years wide.

We imaged M30 at random, just wanted to squeeze in this object before packing up and going home, and so only spent thirty minutes on it. From a Bortle 5 zone, it was just enough to get a great image!

The gear used to image M30

The equipment we used to capture Messier 30 is shown on the right.

We used our very first telescope, the 8" reflector from Orion, the Software Bisque MyT Paramount (read our full review HERE!) and the QHY128C camera, which is a full frame One Shot Color camera, great for clusters and galaxies!

Here is our image of the globular cluster M30, with only 30 minutes of total integration time!

Messier 30 using the Orion 8" Astrograph and the QHY128C


Camera: QHYCCD 128C

Telescope: Orion 8" Astrograph f/3.9

Mount: Software Bisque Paramount MyT

Guiding: N/A

Processing: Pixinsight


Total Exposure Time: 30 minutes

Exposure Time per frame: 30 seconds

Filters: ZWO IR Cut Filter

Gain: 3200

How to find Messier 30?

Messier 30 lies in Capricornus, a Southern constellation that is visible to Northern observers low in sky. M30 is located near the edge of Capricornus towards Piscis Austrinus.

To find it, first locate the constellation, which is not easy due to it being very faint overall. Once you know you are looking in the right direction, try to spot the 5.2 magnitude star "41 Capricorni". This star is bright enough to be visible through any pair of binoculars, telescope or finder scope and lies very close to the cluster. You can see this star in our image.

Cool Facts
  • Discovered in 1764

  • Charles Messier described it as a nebula without any star

  • Lies 27,100 light-years away from Earth

Processing of Messier 30

Processing this globular cluster was very easy and it was really straight forward. There is no nebulosity visible anywhere around the cluster, and there is only one very bright star in the vicinity (41 Capricorni).

There are several small galaxies here and there but those were not challenging to take care of at all as they are tiny and without any detail.

Zooming in on the globular cluster M30 in our image

The main challenge is of course to bring out as many individual stars as possible in the cluster itself. This is mostly possible if your tracking or guiding was excellent.

In our case, the guiding was turned off to avoid any correction sent to the mount as we knew the polar alignment was somewhat perfect.

Taking 30-second shots was the safest way to get round stars that were not overblown.

In processing, several tools can be used to sharpen the stars in the core of the clusters. You can also play with highlights and crispness sliders in Lightroom or Photoshop to further define the individual stars.

What did our single shots look like?

You may be wondering what a single shot of 30 seconds looks like. Here is one from a Bortle 5 zone.

A single 30 second shot of Messier 30

We processed this image using our usual, basic workflow we've been using for years.

You can get our full PixInsight workflow as a PDF "follow along" file HERE.

Final Thoughts

Messier 30 is your typical, average globular cluster. It is a great target to observe with a pair of binoculars or any size telescope, and is easy to photograph. It does not rise very high for northern observers so know that you might be shooting through atmospheric turbulences. As you can see from our result, just 30 minutes of total exposure was enough to get a reasonable image.

Have you captured the M30 globular cluster? Attach your image in the comments and let us know what you used!

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to stay up to date with our work!

Clear Skies,

Galactic Hunter



The Astrophotographer's Guidebook

Description: Discover 60 Deep Sky Objects that will considerably improve your Imaging and Processing skills! Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced astrophotographer, this detailed book of the best deep sky objects will serve as a personal guide for years to come! Discover which star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies are the easiest and most impressive to photograph for each season. Learn how to find each object in the night sky, and read our recommendations on imaging them in a quick and comprehensive way. Each target in this guide contains our advice on imaging, photos of expected results, and a useful information table. We've also included a few cool facts about each target, a map to find it in the night sky, and more!

The Astrophotographer's Journal

Description: The Astrophotographer’s Journal is a portable notebook created for the purpose of recording observations, cataloguing photographs, and writing down the wonderful memories created by this hobby. This book contains more than 200 pages to memorialize your stargazing and imaging sessions, as well as a useful chart on the last pages to index exciting or important notes. Read back on the logs to see how much progress you have made through the months, the problems you overcame, and the notes taken to improve in the future. Just as the pioneers of astronomy did in their time, look up and take notes of your observations as you are the author of this star-filled journey.

The Constellations Handbook

Description: The Constellations Handbook is a logical guide to learning the 88 constellations. Learning the constellations is difficult. Remembering them is even harder. Have you ever wanted to look up to the night sky, name any pattern of stars and be able to tell their stories? This book groups the constellations in a logical order, so that the reader can easily learn them by their origin, and see how their stories interact with one another as a group. The last pages of this book include an index of all 88 constellations, each with a slot where you can write your own personal tips and tricks in order to memorize them with ease. The Constellations Handbook is not just another guide listing all the constellations from A to Z and their location, it is the perfect companion for stargazing, and a learning journey through the ages.

#Globular #Cluster #Messier30 #M30 #QHY #QHY128C #MyT

115 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Quick Links

Social Media

  • Galactic Hunter Facebook
  • Galactic Hunter YouTube
  • Galactic Hunter Instagram
  • Galactic Hunter Amazon
  • Galactic Hunter Flickr
  • Galactic Hunter Twitter


  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Flickr Social Icon

© 2016-2020 by Antoine Grelin.