M11, "Wild Duck" Open Star Cluster

The following sequence zooms-in on an open star cluster, from a "naked eye like" view to telescopic views.

Figure 1.  This is the Milky Way as seen from a mountain site near Santa Barbara, CA at about midnight in June. The center of our galaxy is just to the right of the brightest Milky Way patch, called Baade's Window.  Baade's Window is a region with relatively low amounts of interstellar "dust" along our line of sight, and is a "window" because in this direction we are able to see all the way to the Milky Way galactic center (actually, somewhat "south" of the center, in the central bulge) and beyond. Farther north, along the Milky Way, is another bright region that is just off the edge of this picture, but is shown in the following pictures.  The bright "star" to the right of center is Mars, which was close to its 2001 opposition. [Nikon F3, 35 mm FL, f/3.5, 2.2 minute exposure, Fujicolor Superia X-tra 800 film, camera attached to ETX-125EC for tracking during the exposure, San Marcos Pass, 2200 feet elevation.]

Figure 2.  The same image scale was used to take this picture, but it is centered closer to an open star cluster which we're going to zoom in on (at the cross-hairs).  The center of our Milky Way galaxy is at the bottom of this picture; Mars is at the lower-right corner.  [Nikon F3, 35 mm FL, f/3.5, 5.3 minute exposure, Fujicolor Superia X-tra 800 film, camera attached to ETX-125EC for tracking during the exposure, San Marcos Pass, 2200 feet elevation.]

Figure 3.  Zoom factor of 2.5.  The cross-hairs mark the location of "The Wild Duck" Open Star Cluster, in constellation Scutum.  The constellation Scutum is one of the brightest regions of the Milky Way.  More stars are visible here than can bee seen with the unaided eye. Notice that the dark areas also are brownish; this is due to the way interstellar dust scatters more blue light than red (since the dust particles have sizes comparable to light wavelengths).  [Nikon F3, 105 mm FL, f/4.5, 11 minute exposure, Fujicolor Superia X-tra 800 film, camera attached to ETX-125EC for tracking during the exposure, San Marcos Pass, 2200 feet elevation.]

Figure 4.  Zoom factor of 2.0 (a detail of the previous image).  The "Wild Duck" star cluster, also referred to as M11, appears as a 6th magnitude star (at the center of the cross-hairs).  It is too small to be resolved in this image, which measures 8.5 degrees across.  The dark areas are caused by dust clouds obscuring what otherwise would be a bright background of millions of more distant, unresolved stars. [Nikon F3, 105 mm FL, f/4.5, 11 minute exposure, Fujicolor Superia X-tra 800 film, camera attached to ETX-125EC for tracking during the exposure, San Marcos Pass, 2200 feet elevation.]

Figure 5.   Zoom factor of 3.0.  Image is 3.8 degrees across.  [480mm FL, f/6 Megrez80 "telephoto" lens, Nikon F3 camera body, Fujicolor 800 film, 6.1-minute exposure, guided with Meade LX-200 telescope, 2001.09.05.]

C14HS_1

Figure 6. Zoom factor 3.1. FOV = 70.4 x 45.8 'arc, north up, east left.  [Celestron CGE-1400, prime focus HyperStar lens, SBIG CFW-8 and ST-8XE CCD; RVB exposures are 100 sec; 2004.08.15Z, Hereford, AZ]

Zoom of above

Figure 7. Zoom factor 2.7, crop of previous image.  Brightness enhances faint stars.  FOV = 25.6 x 18.5 'arc.  Resolution is 7.0 "arc (FWHM).

Return to AstroPhotos page.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This site opened:  August 26, 1998.  Last Update:  August 16, 2004