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M45 Close Up



Rex Robichaux

M45 Close Up

Perhaps one of the most iconic and recognizable objects in the night sky, M45 (The Pleiades or Seven Sisters) is a beautiful open cluster of stars that graces our northern hemisphere skies every winter. Ancient legends, myths, and traditions surround the Pleiades from almost every culture from the Greeks to Native Americans. Galileo Galilei is widely attributed to have been the first human to view the cluster through a telescope. M45 is considered an open cluster and is actually made up of around 800-1,000 stars and is located approximately 410-450 light-years from Earth.

The brightest stars in the cluster dominate the view from Earth due to the cloud of nebulous dust that the stars are actually gradually passing through as they slowly move towards Orion's feet. Light from these young, bright stars reflects a largely blue and white spectrum of light off of the surrounding dust producing the fine illuminated filaments we can see today.
This photo was captured from our front yard in Richmond, VA with no light pollution reduction/filtering and consists of about an hour and a half of total integration time. I'd have loved to have gotten more time on this but I'm changing gears for an M81 / M82 project.
Specs: 50x120" subs, 30 flats, 30 dark flats, 40 dark frames. Dithered every shot, sensor at -20c, Unity Gain. Zwo ASI 294MC pro, Teleskop-Service 130 APO, .80 Reducer, Skywatcher EQ6-R Mount.

Captured in APT (guiding with PHD2), stacked in DSS (sigma clipping), Processed in Startols (Autodevelop, minor crop for margins, wipe, develop, deconvolution, wavelet sharpen, color/saturation, minor start reduction / dim, and noise reduction), and finished in Lightroom CC with minor exposure and color/saturation adjustments.

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