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M45 - The Pleiades
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M45 - The Pleiades
Near Lindbrook, Alberta
2014-Oct-18
OSC 35x5min, total 3hr 45min
AstroFX, DSS, CPT
NP101is, NEQ6, NS8300, SSAG, LE80
The Pleiades is an open star cluster located in the constellation Taurus. M45 is quite bright and can be seen with the naked eye, even from an urban location.

Starlight reflecting off the dust around the cluster forms a reflective nebula. Although the cluster is visible with the naked eye, the nebula is not. To pick up the nebula you need a telescope or very good binoculers.

Besides its name "Pleiades", this cluster is also commonly known as the Seven Sisters. As well, in Japan, its called the Subaru. Once I learned this, I finally understood the meaning behind the logo on the front of my car.

This image was composed from frames taken over two (non-successive) nights. The faint reddish hue in and around the nebula is IR energy captured by the frames shot without an IR filter. I didn't have the IR filter the first night out, but did have it by the second session. After many processing attempts, the best image came from the combined stack that included both IR filtered and non-IR filtered frames. So, that’s what I've posted here. From a scientific point of view, the non-filtered frames are interesting because they demonstrate the heat present in or around the nebula.

Another point of interest in this image is a small, faint object that looks to be a galaxy. It appears in the upper left quadrant, just outside the nebulous region and almost perfectly in line with the major central stars of the cluster. Zoom in and look for a small reddish streak with a bulge in the middle. To me, this appears to be a spiral galaxy seen nearly edge on. I checked the catalogs and the best fit for size and position is the galaxy UGC02839 (from the Principal Galaxy Catalog). If I've located the right galaxy, then it means I've picked up a magnitude 17.29 object which by my standards is pretty good.

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