M45 (Pleiades)

Also known as the "Seven Sisters", the Pleiades are one of the finest examples of an open cluster. For many years they were thought to be about 20 million years old. Recent research, however, has increased this number to 100 million years, which is still a young age on a cosmological timescale. Think of it - the dinosaurs must have witnessed the creation of the Plejades!

The blue color of the reflection nebulae (particularly conspicuous around Merope, the "bottom" star) is the result of Rayleigh scattering, which is also responsible for the blue daytime sky on Earth. In the Pleiades, the light is scattered by tiny particles aligned in a magnetic field (hence the "combed hair" structure).

Instrument 8" f/4 Newtonian with coma corrector
Date 26 Jan. 2001
20:13 - 20:53 UTC, Kodak PJM-2 unhypered
21:00 - 21:30 UTC, Kodak PJM-2 unhypered
22:15 - 22:35 UTC, Kodak PJ-400 hypered
Site Baruth, Brandenburg, Germany

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