Perseus molecular cloud is something that may look not attractive at the first glance. It does not contain any well-known targets, at least not the ones that come to astronomy amateurs’ minds in the first place. This huge cloud of gases and dust lies about 1000 light-years away and can be located in the southern part of the constellation of Perseus. It contains over 10,000 solar masses of matter and covers a sky area of 6 by 2 degrees. If you know deep-sky targets a little bit better, then you maybe have heard about NGC1333 or IC348 clusters. These clusters are inside the Perseus molecular cloud (Per MCld) and these are also the areas where low-mass stars are formed.

Molecular clouds in Perseus
Molecular clouds in Perseus

This area is really amazing and full of space treasures. We have exciting dark clouds that obscure objects behind them. When there is a star nearby, then the dark cloud becomes a reflective nebula. When there is hydrogen in the molecular cloud (and usually there is) and some hot star is in the neighborhood, then hydrogen is excited to shine in a deep red hue. Plus many star clusters. Such regions filled with matter sooner or later start to collapse and that process gives birth to the new stars. And this also happens here.

Molecular clouds in Perseus annotated
Molecular clouds in Perseus annotated

Annotated image is presented above. Of course, not all of the targets are cataloged – there are many objects in the sky that remain unnamed and anonymous.

Link to the annotated image

Imaging targets of that type requires dark sky. I cannot have it at my home location, so getting away from the light pollution is the only way. I captured subframes to this image at the star party in Zatom in September 2021. The sky there is really dark stuff, but the weather is a little bit of a lottery. This time the weather surprised us in a good way, so we collected some photons.

Clear skies!

Image technical data:

Date: September, 2021
Location: Zatom, Poland
Telescope: Samyang 135 f/2.8
Corrector: none
Camera: QHY247C, gain 2000
Mount: SW Adventurer
Guiding: 30mm + ASI290M
Exposure: 110x2 minutes
Conditions: Bortle 3, transparency good