Sunday, August 7, 2011

M11 - NGC 6705 - The Wild Duck Cluster

M11, also known as the Wild Duck Cluster is an open cluster in our own Milky Way that contains about 2900 stars.   It has an estimated age of 220 million years.

A few nights ago, just before the clouds rolled in Webster NY.  I decided to capture this magnificent cluster and see, how does it look like in color.   To my surprise this cluster has many stars of different colors.  

I used 4 x 60 second exposures stacked on each channel, LRGB.   The top image its a powered up Photoshop enhanced version of M11.  I like to call this stars in steroids.  I felt a bit compelled to play the artist and see what I could do with it.

The middle image is just the LRGB color combine.  This image only has flat and dark subtraction processing.  So it should give you a clear indication of the colors of the stars.

The image at the bottom is just the stacked images on the luminance filter.  The only processing done on that image is dark substraction.  So it should give you an idea of how the cluster look like before any additional processing.

I can't help but to think what if we lived inside an open cluster like M11.   How would the night sky look like?  I can imagine hundreds of magnitude 1 stars all over the night sky.  It would be awesome!

1 comment:

  1. Our own sky is amazing enough. If we go right now to this galaxy I guess we would just be overwhelmed.
    Believe there ar some even tighter galaxies but can't remember which.
    Nice shots. Wish I could do something like this.
    All I have is a 130mm Vixen OTA and a 6.3 mm loupe of unknown origin.And a home made polar mount so even keeping the stars centered is a struggle. I can manage to get my sons DCS to fit to the tube and just about see the moon on the monitor screen.