M46 and NGC 2438

M46 is a bright open cluster in the constellation of Puppis.  The cluster is made up of many faint stars and it has a special bonus. On the outer edge of the cluster is the planetary nebula NGC 2438.  It is not physically attached to the cluster which is 5500 light years away.  The nebula is a foreground object and about 3,000 light years away. My first memory of seeing this nebula was a ghostly circle with one star near its edge. Because of the orientation of my scope, it looked like the nebula was hanging onto the star or was a teardrop coming from the star. This photograph was taken using a Modified Canon T3i set at ISO 800 and a six-inch F-5 reflector.  The resultant image is a stack of three five-minute exposures:


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