M44, also known as “Praesepe” or the “Beehive Cluster” (other designations: NGC 2632, Cr 189) is a well known open star cluster which can be quite easily observed with the naked eye in the center of the constellation Cancer.
The most suitable time for observing this cluster in northern latitudes is between February and May.

This cluster is one of the nearest open clusters in relation to our own Solar system and lies at a distance of 577 light years.
The age of the cluster is estimated at about 730 million years.

Previous/older images:

Feb 08, 2008 – Canon 350D (80mm TMB-1h)

Image data

Object info
Name M44 – Praesepe
Type Open cluster
Constellation Cancer
Right ascension 08h 40m 24s
Declination +19° 41′ 00″
Distance 577 ly
Other designations NGC2632, Cr189
Image info
Image date Feb. 21, 2012
Light frames 11x 3 min. RGB (each) unbinned
Total integration 1h 09m
Dark frames 10x
Flat frames 10x p. filter unbinned. Created with an A3 size Posterpoweruk flatfield panel
Bias frames 10x
Software used CCDOps, CCDSoft, ImagesPlus, Photoshop CS4
Processing CCDOPS was used for focussing. Image Acquisition was done using CCDSoft.
All separate frames were calibrated, aligned and stacked in ImagesPlus.
Photoshop CS4 was used for further processing – curves adjustment, levels adjustment, etc.
Noel Carboni’s toolset was used as well (Local Contrast Enhancement, Deep Space Noise Reduction)
(L)RGB combine was done in Photoshop.
Equipment info
Telescope TMB/LOMO 80/480
Corrector Televue 2″ RPF 2804 flattener (FL: 528mm f/6.6)
Mount Losmandy G-11 Gemini
Camera SBIG ST-8300M
Guide camera Atik 1HS Mono
Guide scope Vixen VMC110L
Autoguide software PHD Guiding
Filters Baader 2″ RGB
Location Landgraaf, The Netherlands
Image comments

Difficulties with the correct color balance as this is my very first RGB image.