M45, or commonly known as the Pleiades, is arguably one of the prettiest Messier objects. The Pleiades are also mythologically known as the Seven Sisters: Sterope, Merope, Electra, Maia, Taygeta, Celaeno, and Alcyone. Their parents are the stars Atlas and Pleione. The Subaru is the Japanese name for the Pleiades or the “Seven Sisters” (one of whom tradition says is invisible – hence only six stars in the Subaru logo), which inspired the logo.
The Pleiades might look like a constellation; however, it is an asterism. An asterism is a commonly recognized group or pattern of stars that is not a constellation. The Pleiades are easy to spot with the naked eye. The Pleiades can be seen easily even in a very light polluted Bortle 9 sky.
The best way to find Pleaides is by finding Orion’s belt and following the belt up to Aldebaran and then follow that line to a small cluster of stars. You have arrived at the Pleiades.
The Pleiades is an open cluster of stars, and it’s a reflection nebula formed at a young age of 100 million years ago. The Pleiades is about 391 million light-years away. The blue nebulosity around the cluster is made from dust particles reflected off the nearby stars’ light.
The area of the sky that is photographed.
I took this target at Voorhees State Park, in NJ. I had trouble getting the camera getting down to -20, so I had it down to -10c during the entire night. I had switched to B33 (Horsehead Nebula) after this target.
I took 27 frames at 300 seconds each. I had to throw away five frames. I stacked the
22 light frames along with 50 dark and 60 flat frames in PixInsight.
The following processes were performed in PixInsight:
- Dynamic Crop
- Dynamic Background Extraction
- Background Neutralization
- Color Calibration
- Photometric Color Calibration
- MultiScale Linear Transform
- Histogram Transformation
- Curves Transformation (X2 with a range mask. Inverted mask for the background and then non inverted for the target)
- Color Saturation (X2 with a range mask. Inverted mask for the background and then non inverted for the target)
- Morphological Transformation (Generated StarMask using default settings)
- Local Histogram Equalization (Performed with a range mask)
Once I found what I liked, I saved the files and went to Photoshop. I played around with the levels, vibrance, and saturation a bit. I then ran Topaz AI DeNoise. This is an amazing plugin that works like magic.
- Telescope: Explore Scientific ED127 f7.5 Air-Spaced Triplet Apochromatic Refractor
- Camera: ZWO ASI2600MC Pro
- Guide Scope: Orion ST80
- Guide Camera: ZWO ASI290MM Mini. Dithering every image at 1 pixel each time.
- Mount: iOptron CEM60
- Software: NINA for image acquisition. PixInsight used for stacking and editing. Imported to Photoshop for final touchup and watermarking.
- Other Accessories: AstroZap Dew Heater, Starizona Apex ED 0.65x L
Reducer/Flattener, MoonLite CFL 2.5″ Focuser, High Res Stepper Motor, V3 Controller, Pegasus Astro Power Box Advance
- Filters: Optolong L-Pro 2″
- Exposure Time: 1 hour 50 minutes (22 x 300 seconds) -10°C
- Exposure Start: 22:10
- Date: November 09, 2020
- Location: Voorhees State Park, NJ, United States
- GPS Coordinates: Lat. 40.68187, Long. -74.89797
- Temperature: 58°F/14.4°C
- Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 4
- Astrometry.net job: 4031916
- Avg. Moon age: 23.11 Days
- Avg. Moon phase: 39.87%
- RA center: 3h 47′ 10″
- DEC center: +24° 4′ 12″li>
- Orientation: 318.678 degrees
- Field radius: 1.194 degrees
- Magnitude: 1.6
- Resolution: 3720 x 2330
This is another picture I wish I had taken more subs. This is a 30-minute unguided shot. These are fifteen, two-minute images stacked together. This is another target that I will have to re-acquire now that I have a better mount and a better understanding of Astrophotography.
- Telescope: Orion ShortTube 80mm f/5
- Camera: Canon 7D
- Mount: Orion Atlas EQ-G
- Software: Photoshop
- Other Accessories: AstroZap Dew Heater
- Exposure Time: 30 minutes (15 X 120 seconds)
- Exposure Start: 00:37
- Date: October 19, 2015
- Temperature: 63°F/17°C
- Bortle Dark-Sky Scale: 7
- Avg. Moon age: 6.03 Days
- Avg. Moon phase: 35.80%
- RA center: 3h 47′ 31″
- DEC center: +24° 11′ 49″
- Orientation: 155.887 degrees
- Field radius:1.792 degrees
- Magnitude: 1.6
- Resolution: 4914 x 3185