Brilliant star clusters in the cosmic twins that make up the constellation Gemini take center stage in this photo by an avid astrophotographer.
The image was taken by stargazer Ron Brecher from Guelph, Ontario in January 2012 and recently shared it with Space.com. Spread across a patch of night sky nearly the size of the full moon, M35 shines in this image. To it's lower left is NGC 2158, another similar star cluster that lies much further away, at 11,000 light-years away.
"I love open clusters, though I more often shoot extended objects like galaxies and nebulae. They're particularly good for shooting on nights that might not be suitable for nebulous faint objects," Brecher wrote in an email to Space.com.
Both clusters are seen in Gemini constellation. M35, is part of a set of astronomical objects first identified in 1771 by French astronomer Charles Messier. It stands near the "feet" of the twins in the Gemini constellation and astronomers estimate that the cluster is well more than 100 million years old. NGC 2158 is four times further than M35, over 10 times older, and much more compact. Its bright blue stars have self-destructed, and is dominated by older and yellower stars.
Brecher used a SBIG STL-11000M camera, Baader RGB filters, 10″ ASA astrograph at f/3.6, MI-250 mount.
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