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Messier 45 - The Pleiades

In astronomy, the Pleiades, or seven sisters, (Messier object 45) are an open star cluster containing relatively young hot blue 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. Pleiades has several meanings in different cultures and traditions.


The cluster is dominated by hot blue 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 alternate name Maia Nebula after the star Maia), but is now known to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium that the stars are currently passing through. 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 neighbourhood.


Date: 2009-10-25

Location: South Common Observatory

Scope: Williams Optics Zenithstar 66mm @ F/5.9

Camera: Starlight Xpress SXV-H9

Guide Scope: Astro Professional 102ED

Guide Camera: SX Guidehead

Exposure (L): 5100 seconds (average 566 seconds)

Exposure (RGB): 700 seconds


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Taken on October 26, 2009