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The Seven Sisters

The Pleiades are the 7 daughters of Pleione the sea nymph and Atlas, the dude who holds up the sky. Pleione and Atlas have thier own nearby stars but they're just to the left outside the frame of this image). So Atlas was forced to hold up the sky, and Orion saw his chance to get some nookie. Orion chased them around for quite a while before Zeus took pity on the sisters and changed them into doves. They flew off into the sky and turned into stars. The constellation Orion pursues them through the sky to this day.


Generally when you look at the Pleiades, you only see six stars. There are several conflicting stories about what happened to the seventh. Merope married a mortal and is supposed to have faded away in shame, or Electra faded away in grief after the fall of Troy (her son founded Troy), etc. The weird part is the star that we generally don't see is Celaeno. Asterope is actually made up of two stars, both dimmer than Celaeno, but to the naked eye, we see them as one, brighter star.


The Pleiades are one of the more recognizable objects in the night sky. They appear as 5 or 6 somewhat dim stars clustered together very tightly. They also feature prominently on the Subaru Logo. This isn't surprising since Subaru is the Japaneses name for the Pleiades.


In reality, the Pleiades are an open cluster of hundreds of stars who happen to be plowing into some interstellar hydrogen. The light from the stars lights up the dark hydrogen creating a reflection nebula.


1000mm focal length

F/4.9 (203mm aperture newtonian telescope)


9 exposures, 2 minutes each.


The processing on these was incredibly involved because my telescope cannot track stars for two minutes unguided. Briefly:

aligned and stacked using sigma clipping in IRIS

Split into seperate red, green, and blue channels

Ran Richardson Lucy deconvolutions (60 iterations) on each channel


Then I took several different portions of each channel and combined them (Adding some blue into the green channel and some green into the red channel in the process) in photoshop in sort of an HDR'ish manner.


Given the constraints of my equipment, I'm ecstatic at how this turned out. :)

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Uploaded on October 23, 2006