Imaging the Double Cluster in Perseus

I first had a go at this jewel about three years ago. The result was okay, but it was definitely lacking. There were no calibration frames at all, and my processing was very much lacking. Although considering the equipment I was using it turned out okay(ish.)

My first attempt at the Double Cluster, shot with the ST80 and stock Nikon D5300. 81×30 seconds.

Tonight I’m going to give this another go, this time with the ZWO ASI183MC and the SkyWatcher 72ED. I’ll be shooting 3 minute subs, but this time for an overall longer integration time, and also including full calibration frames, which I never shot first time around.

So join me, as I shoot the jewel in the sword of Perseus, the double cluster, NGC 869 and NGC 884.

Mythology

The story of Perseus has been told and retold throughout history, both in popular mythology and also more recently by Hollywood, although a certain amount of poetic licence should be applied to the latter. Some would say that the original “Clash of the Titans” with Harry Hamlin as Perseus was the superior movie, but in all honesty, despite growing up on that one, I found the version with Sam Worthington in the lead hero role to be far more enjoyable. But I’ll let you decide that one.

Perseus was born of mortal woman, Danae, but was fathered by the Greek god, Zeus. Due to his immortal bloodline, this made Perseus a demigod, and it was this, and various gifts from other gods such as Athena and Hades, that allowed him to thwart the gorgon Medusa by beheading her, and also to save the beautiful Andromeda from the titan Cetus (referred to as the Kraken in both movies) after her mother Cassiopeia infuriated the god Poseidon by daring to compare Andromeda’s beauty to the Nereids, the sea nymphs who often accompanied him.

Much has been written about the bravery of Perseus, and the beauty of Andromeda, and one can spend hours immersed in ancient Greek mythology. If you have even a passing interest then you could do worse than have a read up on it.

Imaging

After polar aligning and setting focus, finding the Double Cluster was relatively straightforward. It sits between the bottom of the constellation Cassiopeia, and the straight arm of Perseus. Easy to spot visually, especially through binoculars, although I platesolved onto target, wanting to realign my guidescope and imaging train.

We’re being blessed with some lovely clear skies at the moment so I’m maximising that rare opportunity. So why not return to something that I captured years ago and see how I go now with both more knowledge and better equipment? The double cluster is an easy target, but it’s also quite a stunning one, and it’s easy to see why it gets referred to as the jewel in the sword of Perseus.

I’ll leave you with the final image. Just 60 mins with darks, flats and dark flats at 111 gain, 10 offset. Thank you for reading and clear skies all

The Double Cluster in Perseus. 60 mins with the ASI183MC and 72ED

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