Milky Way Quartet

The southern region of the Milky Way is studded with nebulae and clusters. This image taken at 10pm on 15th January 2013 includes 4 within its field of view:

The Carina Nebula – NGC 3372
NGC 3372, the Eta Carinae Nebula, also known as the Great Nebula in Carina, is a large bright nebula that surrounds several open clusters. The nebula can be seen with the naked eye. The star Eta Carinae, a giant variable star, is among the most massive and luminous stars in the Milky Way.

The Southern Pleiades – IC 2602
The cluster contains about 60 stars. Theta Carinae, a third-magnitude star, is the brightest star within the cluster. The other stars in the cluster are of fifth magnitude and fainter.
The Southern Pleiades spans a sizeable area of sky, approximately 50 arc minutes; it is best viewed with large binoculars or a telescope with a wide-angle eyepiece.
The cluster is at a distance of 479 light years and is thought to have an age of 50 million years.

Lambda Centauri Cluster IC 2944
A site of active star formation. There are young stars scattered through the surrounding nebula and these stars are responsible for its existence. the stars only 10 million years old and the hydrogen they illuminate seems to be unusually thinly spread and very uniform, so the nebula is both faint and extensive. It is also quite distant, about 6000 light years and is only two degrees from the Galactic plane, so there are many foreground stars.

NGC 3532
A large open cluster in Carina, lying a few degrees west of the Keyhole Nebula. It is the brightest cluster in a rich region, and contains about 120 stars.
NGC 3532 is sometimes known as the “Wishing Well Cluster”. It got this name because it resembles a group of silver coins shimmering at the bottom of a wishing well. The cluster has an estimated age of 200-350 million years.

Canon 7D
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L @ 70mm
ISO 1000
Stacked image from 30 x 25 sec using Deep Sky Stacker



3 thoughts on “Milky Way Quartet

  1. Wonderful! Did I understand you correctly? This picture was created out of four different pictures (that are all stacks from 30x25sec pics)?
    If I may ask you: how did you put those four different pictures together and still got this smooth looking result (that all four parts of the picture have the same colour scheme and brightness)?
    Again, a very nice piece of work!


    1. Hi Charlie … It’s a single picture from the 30x25sec stack. The 4 clusters and nebulae are in that single field of view. I’d love to be able to stitch a few separate pics together though, but I think it requires some pretty specialized software.
      Thanks for your comment too …. Very much appreciated.


      1. Aaah got it! I thought that it would have been too complicated (at least for me) to create a panorama of the milkyway that consists of several stacked images.
        Can’t wait to get outside again! In a few weeks, I will finally be able to afford my first telescope (refractor 102/500mm) with a mount, motor and everything. I will hopefully be able to make some longer exposures than 2secs per pic!


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