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Messier 35 - Open Cluster in Gemini

Updated: Jun 7, 2023


  • 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.


messier 35 astrophotography ngc 2158

GEAR USED:

Telescope: 8" Astrograph

Guiding: N/A (laptop died!)

Processing: Pixinsight

ACQUISITION DETAILS:

Total Exposure Time: 1.4 hours

Exposure Time per frame: 30 seconds

164 lights - 15 Darks - 15 Bias

ISO: 800


 

How to Locate Messier 35

graph on 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.