Updated: Jun 7
Featured in Amateur Astrophotography Magazine - Issue 61
M35 is a large, 110 million-year-old cluster located 2,800 light-years away in the constellation of Gemini. Another cluster, NGC 2158, is next to Messier 35, and the both of them together make for a beautiful photo full of stars.
The tricky part about photographing this target with its cluster neighbor is to properly center the camera so you can capture them both without cutting either one out.
Make sure your tracking and guiding are on point so that the stars within the clusters don’t drift over each other. For star cluster astrophotography, excellent guiding is extremely important. In our case, our laptop died that night so unfortunately we did not have our guiding on! Thinking quickly, we decided to launch 30-second shots unguided and managed to get okay (but not great) details with minimal star trails. You can see the image below.
Camera: Canon 7D Mark II
Telescope: 8" Astrograph
Mount: Motorized Equatorial Mount
Guiding: N/A (laptop died!)
Total Exposure Time: 1.4 hours
Exposure Time per frame: 30 seconds
164 lights - 15 Darks - 15 Bias
How to Locate Messier 35
Messier 35 can be found in the Gemini constellation. The cluster can easily be found by locating the nearest bright star: Capella, from the Taurus constellation.
Starting from Alhena, a bright star in the constellation of Gemini, move in a straight line to Capella and the line will lead you directly to M35. You should land on the cluster a little more than halfway through.
The cluster can be seen with the naked eye under the best possible conditions, and can easily observed through binoculars as well as any size telescope.
If your goal includes seeing the neighboring cluster NGC 2158, a larger telescope will be needed. That second cluster can be found just 15 arc minutes to the southwest of M35.
Here is a better view of the NGC 2158 cluster. Unless you completely miss your framing or you are using a huge telescope, you will get this pretty cool cluster in your final image as well!
Discovered around the year 1750
The only Messier object in Gemini
About the same size as the full moon
Find out more about the clusters we've captured on our Star Cluster page.
Messier 35 Log Entry Video
This Messier cluster in Gemini is a pretty popular target for astrophotographers, especially due to the fact that NGC 2158, another cluster, can be seen right next to it! You also do not need much total exposure time to make a great image full of stars.
If you need guidance about how to photograph this deep-sky object, consider partaking in our astrophotography consulting services. We can teach you one-on-one or help you bring out the best of your photos.
Learn about the night sky with a book created just for stargazing or astrophotography. One of the best ways to learn about a subject is by reading it which improves your focus and memory of the material. Check out our collection of books by clicking on the image below.