Updated: Oct 28, 2019

  • Featured on 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 only 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 off.

Make sure your tracking and guiding are on point so that the stars within the clusters don’t drift over each other. In our case, our laptop did not work properly that night so we could not do any guiding! We decided to launch 30 second shots unguided, and got very minimal star trails.


Camera: Canon 7D Mark II

Telescope: Orion 8" Astrograph f/3.9

Mount: Atlas EQ-G motorized Mount

Coma: Baader MPCC Coma Corrector MkIII

Guiding: N/A (laptop died!)

Processing: Pixinsight


Total Exposure Time: 1.4 hours

Exposure Time per frame: 30 seconds

164 lights - 15 Darks - 15 Bias

ISO: 800


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


Final Thoughts

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.

Clear Skies,

Galactic Hunter

Part of: 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!

#astronomy #astrophotography #messiercatalog #messier #galaxy #nebula #cluster #stars #space #galactichunter #nevada #lasvegas #canon #orion #telescope #messier35 #M35 #Gemini

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