Updated: Jun 8
M93 is an open cluster located 3,380 light-years away in the constellation Puppis. It is a nice little object that is easy for beginner astrophotographers to image and process.
Object Designation: M93, NGC 2447, Cr 160
Also known as: N/A
Object Type: Open Cluster
Distance: 3,380 light-years away
Discovery: Charles Messier in 1781
M93 can easily be captured with just a couple of hours of integration time, and there doesn't seem to be any background gas around the object, as is the case in other open clusters like M37.
M93 Astrophotography from a Dark Site
We spent a total of 7.5 hours shooting Messier 93. We tried also including several hours of Hydrogen Alpha to the RGB we had but realized that there was really no HA at all anywhere in the frame, so had to discard that data. It's sad to delete hours of data, but there was no point in combining hours of HA if there is simply none.
For this target, we used R, G, and B filters on our monochrome camera attached to our SVX130 refractor telescope. This setup is installed at Utah Desert Remote Observatories and we were able to remotely capture this object. Being a very basic cluster and so low on the horizon, we just captured some bits of data whenever we had some time before or after imaging a more important object such as a popular galaxy. Because of that, it took several nights to finish gathering just 7.5 hours of data.
Telescope: Stellarvue SVX130
Mount: 10Micron GM1000 HPS
Guiding: ZWO ASI 290MM Mini
Accessories: Moonlite Nitecrawler focuser / Pegasus Astro Ultimate Powerbox
Processing: Pixinsight, with R-C Astro Plugins
Total Exposure Time: 7.5 hours
Exposure Time per frame: 5 minutes
Filters: Chroma 3nm R/G/B
How to Locate Messier 93
Messier 93 is located about 3,380 light-years away from Earth and can be found in the constellation Puppis. The cluster is made up of approximately 80 stars and has a diameter of 10-15 light-years.
To locate Messier 93, first, locate the brightest star in Puppis: Canopus. From there, locate the star Naos and then make your way toward the nearby star cluster NGC 2451. Messier 93 is located about halfway between Naos and NGC 2451.
Messier 93 is not visible to the naked eye but can be seen through binoculars or a telescope from a dark location.
Other Messier objects near Messier 93 include M46, M47, and M50. M93 is often confused with Messier 48 due to its similar size, brightness, and general area in the sky. They also both contain the exact same number of stars... 80!
Processing Messier 93
Processing M93 was not difficult in any way. Like stated earlier, there is no gas to pull out from the background, no specific detail to reveal anywhere, and the colors within the clusters are not tricky to show.
This is a very simple target for beginner astrophotographers and one that might make an advanced data-processing lover fall asleep on their keyboard.
Below you can see what a single 60-second shot using the Red filter looked like, in case you were curious.
Astrophotography Tips for Processing Images
If you're interested in learning how we process all of our images, we put together several PixInsight guides with walkthrough videos, text lessons, custom process icons, and raw data. You can find these on our Processing Guides page, and see which one would be the best fit for you!
Messier 93 FAQ
Which constellation is Messier 93 located in?
You can find Messier 93 in the constellation Puppis.
How big is Messier 93?
The Messier 93 cluster has a diameter of 10-15 light-years and an apparent size of 10'.
How far is Messier 93?
Messier 93 lies approximately 3,380 light-years away from Earth.
How many stars are in Messier 93?
Messier 93 contains approximately 80 stars.
How long should my exposure time be for this object?
Messier 93 is an open cluster, and the stars are not much compacted. You can safely use long exposure times if you're hoping to see some faint gasses in the background, or you can just do 60-sec exposures as we did.
Should I use a filter to image Messier 93?
Since Messier 93 is a broadband target, you can photograph it without any filters.
What equipment do I need to photograph Messier 93?
M93 is a small open cluster, it is best photographed using a large telescope. Using something that has a short focal length will not give you the best image quality, so we recommend you do not bother attempting this with just a DSLR/Mirrorless lens and wait to get a telescope.
The Askar FRA600 can be a nice telescope for the price with a long enough focal length for most targets including M93.
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Challenge Yourself to Capture All Messier Objects
Our first mission in astrophotography was to photograph all Messier objects. We were inspired by that goal and created the Messier Catalog Workbook! This handy book has information about all 110 objects, including stats, fun facts, a canvas square to draw o), and more. Gift yourself or surprise a fellow astronomy lover with it!
Digital or physical copies are available. Click to learn more.
Messier 93 is a small but simple target for beginner astrophotographers who own a large enough telescope. It is quick to shoot and easy to process, and it overall looks nice! We are glad to finally add this cluster to our Messier Catalog!
Have you captured M93 in the past? Include your picture in the comments below along with some information about your gear so that everyone can see it!