Enchanted Skies

Star Clusters

M45 - The Pleiades (imaged at the White Sands National Monument)

The Pleiades (M45) Region near M45


Object Information                                            Imaging Details

The Pleiades (M45) is one of the best known star clusters in the Fall and Winter skies. According to Greek mythology, the stars are the seven daughters of Atlas, the titan who holds up the sky. The sisters are Alcyone, Maia, Electra, Taygeta, Celaeno, Merope and Sterope. Placing your mouse over the image above will show the names of each of the seven sisters. The Great Hunter, Orion, fell in love with them and chased them for seven years.

Most people are only able to see six stars; the seventh sister (Celaeno) is just a bit too dim to be seen by most naked eye observers. Faint nebulosity may be seen through modest-sized telescopes. Photography and processing are needed to really bring out the fine detail.

This image was taken in October, 2007 at the annual White Sands Star Party near Alamogordo, NM. Skies were completely transparent; seeing was poor.

Clicking on the image brings up a larger, more detailed image.


Orion ED80

Canon 300D (type 1 modified)
Misc. Optics:
Williams Optics 0.8X Reducer/Flattener
25 x 3 minutes @ ISO 800
ED80 was piggybacked atop a Celestron NexStar GPS 11. Guiding was with GuideDog using a ToUCam.
Raws converted to Tiffs with Photoshop CS3. Images aligned and stacked using Nebulosity. Curves/levels adjustments also performed with Photoshop CS3. Noise reduced with Noise Ninja.

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Enchanted Skies - Astrophotography by Rich Richins (all images copyright, Rich Richins)