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The Pleiades (M45) | by Davide Simonetti
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The Pleiades (M45)

The Pleiades, or Seven Sisters (Messier 45 or M45), is an open star cluster approximately 444 light years away from Earth containing middle-aged hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky.


The cluster is dominated by hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Dust that forms a faint reflection nebulosity around the brightest stars was thought at first to be left over from the formation of the cluster (hence the alternative name Maia Nebula after the star Maia), but is now known to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium, through which the stars are currently passing. Computer simulations have shown that the Pleiades was probably formed from a compact configuration that resembled the Orion Nebula. Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.


The name of the Pleiades comes from Ancient Greek. It probably derives from plein because of the cluster's importance in delimiting the sailing season in the Mediterranean Sea: 'the season of navigation began with their heliacal rising'. However, the name was later mythologised as the name of seven divine sisters, whose name was imagined to derive from that of their mother Pleione, effectively meaning 'daughters of Pleione'. However, in reality the name of the star-cluster almost certainly came first, and Pleione was invented to explain it. [Wikipedia]


8 x 2 minute exposures at 800 ISO

11 x dark frames

11 x flat frames

24 x bias/offset frames



Celestron NexStar 127 SLT

GoTo AltAz mount with homemade wedge

Orion 50mm Mini Guide Scope

ZWO ASI120 MC imagaing and guiding camera

Canon 700D DSLR (piggybacked on scope)

Tamron 70-30mm lens at 300mm


Guided with PHD

Stacked and calibrated in Maxim DL

Post processed in Maxim DL, Nebulosity, and Photoshop


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Uploaded on August 22, 2015