Astrophotography by David Gares

Pleiades Open Cluster M45

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The Pleiades (pronounced PLEE-uh-deez) stars have been known since ancient times.  They are mentioned in the Bible and in Homer's Odyssey.  The Greeks called them the "Seven Sisters", while the Japanese still call them "Subaru".  The major stars bear the names of the sisters: Alcyone, Asterope (a double star), Electra, Maia, Merope, Taygeta and Celaeno.  These, of course, are visible to the naked eye as a tiny version of a little dipper.  The Pleiades are a welcome winter target for binoculars and small telescopes, easy to find and probably the brightest open cluster in the sky.  You'll need a wide field instrument; Maks and SCTs are pretty useless (use your finderscope).  My 10" scope couldn't squeeze all seven sisters in, even on 35mm film.  The first image is a mosaic to squeeze more in, even with a 4" scope.  You can tell because I lost some coverage in two corners (look closely).  Long exposure photos under dark skies show more of the blue reflection nebulae around these stars (especially Merope).

 Object Details:  
 Type:  Open Cluster
Constellation:  Taurus
 Distance:  380 light-years
 Size:  12 light-years


M45 Pleiades Open Cluster
Date:  11/03/2007
Site:  Harahan, LA
Conditions:  Cannot Recall
Exposure:  5 x 4min ea, 2x Mosaic
Filters:  IDAS LPS-P48
Processing:  MSB Astroart 5.0
Telescope:  4" Tak FSQ-106N
Reducer:  None (f/5.0)
Image CCD:  SX SXV-H9C
Guide CCD:  SX  MX7C
Guide Scope:  Vixen ED80Sf


M45 Pleiades Open Cluster
Date:  Jan. 8, 2003
Site:  Harahan, LA
Camera:  Olympus OM-1
Film:  Kodak Supra 400

Exposure: 2 x 20 min.
Filters:  Lumicon Deep-Sky LPR
Processing:  MSB Astroart 2.0
Telescope:  10" Meade LX200
Reducer:  Lumicon GEG f/5.8
Autoguider:  MX7C/S.T.A.R. 2000


M45 Pleiades Open Cluster
Date:  Oct. 19, 2003
Site:  Harahan, LA
Exposure: CCD, 5 x 15 sec.

Lens:  135 mm, f/2.8

Filters:  K2 yellow
Processing:  MSB Astroart 3.0
CCD:  Starlight Express MX7C
Autoguider:  S.T.A.R. 2000