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Open Cluster
Messier 44, Beehive Cluster


Object : M44
Coordinates/Direction : RA: 08h40m, DEC: +19o59'
Object size : 95'
Object magnitude : 3.7
More to know : Wikipedia:
https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Beehive Cluster

M44, 2020-01-08:

M44 open cluster, 2020
Date : 2020-01-08
Time (UT) : 23:53 to 01:23
Mount : EQ6 controlled by EQMOD
Guide : PHD2 in dithering mode, QHY5 camera, 400 mm f/6.3 guide telescope
Lens/telescope : TS130, 910mm f/7
Corrector/Barlow : Field flattener 3" x1
Filter : none
camera : Canon 6D, controlled by APT software
Film/CCD : Raw
Exp. time : 23x60 seconds, iso1600
Image process tool : AstroImageJ, Fitswork, Irfanview
Processing : level, cal flat, dithering no bias & dark, noise filter
Weather : clear sky
Site : Sweden, Stockholm, Hagsätra
Comment : In Southern I have a clear but narrow view from our balcony in almost exactly Southern direction. In January the Open Cluster M44, the Beehive Cluster passing by. This cluster take up the same angle as three Moons and is easy to see from a dark sky, not what I have where I live but I can still take photos of it.

I have many of photos of this cluster from earlier, but I had some problem to open the files which I now have solved, see how to rotate .cr2 files.

Compare different photos how they looked with the older equipment below.

M44 2020-01-08, crop of above:

M44, Beehive Cluster, 2020
Date : 2020-01-08
Time (UT) : 23:53 to 01:23
Comment : A zoom in on the ten brightest stars in center of the M44 open cluster.

M44, 2018-01-08:

M44 open cluster, 2018
Date : 2018-01-08
Time (UT) : 20:30 to 01:07
Mount : EQ6 controlled by EQMOD
Guide : PHD2 in dithering mode, QHY5 camera, 400 mm f/6.3 guide telescope
Lens/telescope : TS130, 910mm f/7
Corrector/Barlow : Field flattener 3" x1
Filter : none
camera : Canon 6D, controlled by APT software
Film/CCD : Raw
Exp. time : 19x60 seconds, iso800, not many of the photos was used because of clouds
Image process tool : AstroImageJ, Fitswork, Irfanview
Processing : level, cal flat, dithering no bias & dark, noise filter
Weather : limited clear sky with lot of clouds that come and go
Site : Sweden, Stockholm, Hagsätra
Comment : It's not often I have the telescope pointing at the Southern direction because of the narrow angle I have a free view out from in this direction. This cluster is very beautiful to look at in a small telescope, my own telescope is only for photographing but I seen it from my friends telescopes.

This photo was taken 2 years earlier than the above. It's the same setup of the telescope as I have now in 2020.

M44, 2015-12-01:

M44 open cluster, 2015
Date : 2015-12-01
Time (UT) : 23:38 to 00:41
Mount : EQ6 controlled by EQMOD
Guide : PHD2, QHY5 camera, off-axis adapter
Lens/telescope : TS130, 910mm f/7 (682mm, f/5.3)
Corrector/Barlow : Riccardi Field flattener 2.5" x0.75 reducer
Filter : none
camera : Canon 6D, controlled by APT software
Film/CCD : Raw
Exp. time : 48x60 seconds, iso800
Image process tool : AstroImageJ, Fitswork, Irfanview
Processing :  level, cal flat, dithering no bias & dark, noise filter
Weather : clear sky
Site : Sweden, Stockholm, Hagsätra
Comment : In 2016 I bought a new camera to replace my old Canon 5D. The new camera is the Canon 6D, lower noise and higher sensitivity. The telescope setup at this time was with a field flattener with reducer that reduce the focal length to 682 mm, compare with it's normal focal length 910 mm. I did that because I want a brighter (faster) telescope, f/5.3 instead of f/7.

M44 2015-12-01, crop of above:

M44, Beehive Cluster, 2020
Date : 2015-12-01
Time (UT) : 23:38 to 00:41
Comment : This is a 800 x 800 1:1 crop of above photo. The APO telescope handle the color very good, no color bleeding around the bright stars.

An APO (short for Apochromat) lens means it's a lens designed to handle the color much better. In this case the main lens is a triple design and much more complicated and expensive compare to an achromat's double lens design.
Apochromat Wikipedia and Achromat Wikipedia

M44, 2013-12-01:

M44 open cluster, 2013
Date : 2013-12-01
Time (UT) : 22:29 to 22:59
Mount : EQ6 controlled by EQMOD
Guide : -
Lens/telescope : Pentax 500mm f/4.5 (set to f/6.3)
Corrector/Barlow : built into the camera lens
Filter : none
camera : Canon 5D (Mk I)
Film/CCD : Raw
Exp. time : 39x30 seconds, iso1000
Image process tool : AstroImageJ, Fitswork, Irfanview
Processing :  level, cal flat, dithering no bias & dark, noise filter
Weather : clear sky
Site : Sweden, Stockholm, Hagsätra
Comment : This photo is taken with a Pentax 500 mm f/4.5 lens, I had that one before I bought the APO telescope. The color control is not very well in these old designed camera lenses. It has a five lens element design, two lenses in the main lens and three lenses in the field flatter. The color bleeding can be reduced in the image processing but not as good as if had not been there from the beginning. The lens had a big opening, f/4.5, a very fast lens, less good was the heavy vignetting.

M44, 2013-11-25:

M44 open cluster, 2013
Date : 2013-11-25
Time (UT) : 22:27 to 22:36
Mount : EQ6 controlled by EQMOD
Guide : -
Lens/telescope : Pentax 67 SMC 165 mm f/2.8 (set to f/2.8)
Corrector/Barlow : built in (camera lens)
Filter : none
camera : Canon 5D (Mk I)
Film/CCD : Raw
Exp. time : 20x15 seconds, iso1000
Image process tool : AstroImageJ, Fitswork, Irfanview
Processing : level, cal flat, dithering no bias & dark, noise filter
Weather : clear sky
Site : Sweden, Stockholm, Hagsätra
Comment : This is a wide angle photo of the M44 open cluster. The lens is an very old Pentax 67 medium format lens, the medium format means it is designed for a whopping 60x70 mm big sensor (film). It hold down the vignetting to almost nothing when used on a full frame camera. In that time I had my old Canon 5D camera. But the camera & lens combination takes good looking photos. With a little bit more care of the settings of the mount and focus this image had been very good for a photo taken from my balcony.

M44 2015-12-01, crop of above:

M44, Beehive Cluster, 2013
Date : 2013-11-25
Time (UT) : 22:27 to 22:36
Comment : This is a 800 x 800 1:1 crop of above photo. Old lenses are a bit softer and does not give razor sharp images. One advantages is that when the stars are spread out on many pixel it doesn't oversaturate and then keep the colors much better. This is only a five minute exposure with an old low sensitive camera.
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