Enchanted Skies

Star Clusters

M45 - The Pleiades (imaged at the 'Upham', NM)

The Pleiades (M45) by R. Richins Region near M45 (The Pleiades)


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.

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 December, 2008 at ASLC's 'Upham' dark sky site (about 35 miles NNW of Las Cruces). Transparency and seeing were moderate.

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


Celestron NexStar GPS 11

Canon 350D (modified)
Misc. Optics:
Hyperstar 3
40 x 1 minutes @ ISO 800
Through piggybacked ED80 using a ToUCam and GuideDog.
Raws to Tif using PhotoShop CS3. Images aligned and stacked with Nebulosity. Stacks combined and additional processing with PS.

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