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Also known as the Theta Carinae Cluster, The Southen Pleiades is a very bright open cluster in the Carina constellation. It was discovered by Abbe Lacaille during his visit to South Africa in 1752.  Containing around 60 stars, IC 2602 shines with an overall magnitude of 1.9 and its brightest member is Theta Carinae with a visual magnitude of 2.7. This cluster of young blue stars is relatively close to us at "only" 479 light years.

5 May 2018



The Southern Pleiades ( IC 2602 ) in Carina ( please click / tap on image to see larger and sharper )


Image details:

Orientation: North is up

Telescope: Orion Optics CT12 Newtonian ( mirror 300mm, fl 1200mm, f4 ).
Corrector: ASA 2" Coma Corrector Quattro 1.175x.
Effective Focal Length / Aperture : 1470mm f4.7

Mount: Skywatcher EQ8
Guiding: TSOAG9 Off-Axis-Guider, Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2, PHD2 

Nikon D5300 (unmodified) (sensor 23.5 x 15.6mm, 6016x4016 3.91um pixels)

Blue Mountains, Australia 
Moderate light pollution ( pale green zone on darksitefinder.com map )

Capture ( 5 May 2018 ):
14 sets of sub-images with exposure duration for each set doubling ( 1/30th sec to 240 sec ) all at ISO250.
( 22 x 240sec + at least 10 each forthe other durations )

Calibration: master bias, master flat and master dark
Integration in 14 sets
HDR combination 

Pixinsight May 2018

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19 minutes ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Again, beautiful. Nice to see diffraction spikes. Amazing colour. 

Thanks Paul.

The background is quite a bit darker than I like but I had to hide a rather nasty reflection / lens flare artefact caused by the very bright star Theta Carinae ( +2.7 ).  If I get chance I will reframe and take some more long exposure subs - hopefully this will move the problem to somewhere else in the image and I will be able to eliminate it by sigma clipping or, as a last resort, by cutting out and replacing the 'damaged' portion of the image.

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