The early Ohio winter actually gave me five clear nights this week during a new Moon, can you believe it? I finally got to image a target I’ve been wanting to do for years, and my widefield refractor was the perfect equipment to image it with.
Messier 45, also known as the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters, and Subaru, is an open star cluster with reflection nebulosity in Taurus. Dust around this cluster reflects the ultraviolet and blue light from the hot blue stars, illuminating otherwise dark clouds of “star stuff.” This cluster is the closest Messier object to the Earth at 444 light years away. It consists of at least 1,000 stars, many of which are visible in my image that contains in total around 16,000 stars.
The following image is composed of 595 three-minute exposures over the course of five nights, giving about 30 hours of total exposure. Imaging these bright blue stars really brings out the chromatic aberration in this cheap doublet, but I am still very pleased with the performance of this small telescope for its price. As always, click on the image to get the full resolution.
The following image shows the names of the stars, which come from the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology, who were daughters of Atlas and Pleione. Sterope II is a binary companion to Asterope, and the two are separated by 2.82 arcminutes, making them indistinguishable to the naked eye.