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

The Pleiades

In astronomy, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters (Messier 45 or M45), is an open star cluster 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 celestial entity has several meanings in different cultures and traditions.


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.


Taken in Ortigia, Sicily with 105mm lens at f2.8 - camera piggybacked on my telescope with the alt-az mount.


83 x 10 second exposures at 6400 ISO

59 x 15 second exposures at 6400 ISO

60 x dark frames

40 x flat frames

24 x bias/offset frames (subtracted from flat frames only)


Processed in Nebulosity, Maxim DL, and Photoshop.

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Taken on September 4, 2016