Astrophotography by Anthony Ayiomamitis

Deep Sky Object Image Gallery

Open star clusters are widely distributed in our galaxy and represent a loose collection of stars which number from a few dozen to a few hundred stars and are weakly-held gravitationally. Perhaps the three most famous such open clusters are the Pleiades (M45) in Taurus, the Beehive (M44) in Cancer and the double cluster in Perseus. They are all characterized with a handful of hot and white prominent stars and nebular material surrounding these stars.

Note: The open cluster M103 is the second major such cluster in Cassiopeia following in the footsteps of NGC 457. The cluster contains approximately 170 member stars spanning 15 light-years across and, as illustrated by the image below, is dominated by a handful of bright stars ranging in magnitude from 7.3 to 8.3. The cluster was first discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1781 and represents one of the latest entries in Charles Messier's catalog. M103 is best observed using either binoculars or a rich-field refractor and low magnifications. The cluster is very easy to locate since it lies within a degree of -Cassiopeiae (Ruchbach, mag 2.65) and is best observed during late summer and early fall when it is directly overhead around midnight.

Please click on the image below to display in higher resolution (1200 x 900)

Image Details
M103 - Open Cluster in Cassiopeia
Imaging Details
NGC Number:
581

Common Name(s):
M103

Other Designations:
OCL 326, Cr 14, Mel 8

Object Type:
Open Cluster

Object Classif:
II 2 m

Constellation:
Cassiopeia

RA / Dec:
01h 33m 38s /
60 44' 01"


Distance:
8,500 light-yrs

Object Size:
6' x 6'

Magnitude:
7.4
Date:
Nov 28, 2011
19:30 - 21:45 UT+2


Location:
Athens, Greece

Equipment:
AP 305/f3.8 Riccardi-Honders
AP 1200GTO GEM
SBIG ST-10XME
SBIG CFW10
SBIG LRGB filters


Integrations:
Lum :  030 min (30 x 1 min)
Red :  030 min (10 x 3 min)
Green :  030 min (10 x 3 min)
Blue :  030 min (10 x 3 min)
Binning :  1x1 (Lum),  1x1 (RGB)

Image Scale:
1.25" per pixel

Temperatures:
Ambient : + 05.0 C
CCD Chip : - 25.0 C

Software:
CCDSoft V5.00.201
CCDStack V1.6.0.5
eXcalibrator V1.0.3.0
Aladin V6
Photoshop CS2