Distance: 440 Light Years Telescope: Televue NP101
Magnitude: 1.6 Camera: QSI 683
Size: 110 Arc-minutes Mount: AP 900
Age: Approx. 100 Million Years Exposures: L 20×600, R 20×600, G 20×600 B 20×600
M45, also known as the Pleiades, is a bright open cluster with reflection nebula in the constellation of Taurus. There are several hot and bright blue stars in the cluster along with about 1000 other stars and they are thought to be about 100 million years old. The reflection nebula was once thought to be gas remnants from the star formation but it is now thought that the cluster of stars is moving through space and happened to cross through a neighboring dust cloud on its current path towards the constellation of Orion. The evidence for this is that the star cluster is moving at a different speed than the dust which shows as the reflection nebula.
Also known as the Seven Sisters from Greek Mythology, this open cluster is easily seen with the naked eye and is similar in shape to the Big Dipper. The nine brightest stars which are commonly seen are Sterope, Merope, Electra, Maya, Taygeta, Alcyone, and Celaeno all of which are named for the Seven Sisters and are daughters of Atlas (father) and Pleione (mother) the other two brightest stars. There are a few nebulous regions around some of the stars. The Merope nebula, IC349, is the brightest and it surrounds the star Merope. This nebula appears as a stringy hair like figure that is arced through the star. The Maia nebula, NGC 1432 surrounds the star Maia and consists of the same type of stringy, hair like nebulosity. In between the Maia and Merope nebula lays two fairly bright horizontal lines that almost appear like a scratch across the lens. It is thought that these streaky lines are shaped by the magnetic alignment of the dust particles in the area. The Tempels nebula, NGC 1435 is below the Merope nebula and is slightly different in color from the rest of the area.
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