Pleiades Cluster From South Florida

December 19, 2010


: Charles LilloCharles's website
Summary Author: Charles Lillo

The Pleiades, also known as "The Seven Sisters" and Messier 45, is perhaps the most readily identifiable star cluster. This cluster contains hundreds of stars, of which seven are visible to the unaided eye in good viewing conditions. They are thought to have formed together around 100 million years ago, making them just 1/50th the age of our Sun. From our perspective, the Pleiades appear in the constellation of Taurus and are some 425 light years away. For Northern Hemisphere observers, the cluster lies above and to the right of Orion the Hunter.

This deep exposure of the Pleiades region shows that there's much more going on than just a gathering of stars. The entire region is surrounded by blue filaments of light. This blue nebulosity is the result of starlight scattering (reflecting) off minute grains of interstellar dust. The dust particles reside in a cloud of mostly hydrogen gas that the cluster seems to be plowing into. Image acquired on October 30, 2010 at Harold Campbell Public Use Facility in the Florida Everglades.

Photo details: f /10; with Hyperstar, pixel scale was 4.0 -- much more forgiving with the windy conditions. The resulting image is 14 x 230 second subs and 5 x 30 second subs combined in Maxim and post processed using Photoshop.