Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

NGC 457 - ET Cluster

aka Owl Cluster





Open Cluster NGC 457 had been termed the Owl Cluster, but later earned the name E.T. cluster subsequent to the popular movie E.T.  Can you see the two large eyes above the thin body angled top left to bottom right with the widely stretched arms?  The "eyes" are formed by the double star Phi Cassiopeia, whose fifth and seventh magnitude components are separated by 1.34 arc seconds.  The eyes are about 2,000 light-years distance while the rest of the cluster is about 10,000 light-years away.  Scattered near the cluster and throughout the image are several red giant stars.


  • Date & Location:  October 25, 2011 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm wind, Average temperature 45F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Average transparency. 

  • SQM-L: Average Start 20:31 / Stop 20:49

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor with 1.5x extender 810mm @ f8.1

  • Filter:  Astronomic  EOS clip-in CLS-CCD (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  AstroPhysics AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  None - PEM active

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500D) Hap Griffin Modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  162 min (2 hours 42 min) 27 x 6min @ ISO 1600 RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  16 Dark Frames & 16 Bias Frames

  • Processing:  Images Plus 3.82, PS CS4, Noise Ninja, GradientXTerminator, NIK 

  • Comments:  Image was taken soon after skies cleared and a light fog lifted...a rare clear night in a long series of rainy and /or overcast nights. Image capture began just as ET crossed the meridian.




Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors