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M45 - The Pleiades

Discussion in 'Night, InfraRed, and UltraViolet Photography' started by cdnpilot, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. This was taken January 3 and consists of 120 x 75 second exposures (~2.5 hours) using a D500, 70-200 mm f2/8 and a TCE14. Messier 45 (M45), also known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters, is a bright open star cluster located in the constellation Taurus, the Bull. It is the easiest object of its kind to see without binoculars - or after cataract surgery :)  The Pleiades is 444 light years from Earth. It contains a number of hot, blue (hence the color), extremely luminous B-type stars and is one of the nearest star clusters to Earth. M45 has a core radius of 8 light years and its tidal radius extends to about 43 light years. The cluster is home to more than 1,000 confirmed members, but only a handful of these stars are visible to the naked eye. The total mass of M45 is estimated at about 800 solar masses.

    The best time of year to observe M45 is during the winter months, when Taurus constellation rises high in the sky. Find the 3 stars in Orion's belt, then take a slow arc to the west and you will see a 'fuzzy' patch in the sky - that is it!

    M45_Dec_2018 copy.jpg
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  2. kilofoxtrott

    kilofoxtrott European Ambassador Moderator

    Dec 29, 2011
    Tettnang, Germany
    Kevin, that's a stunning and beautiful picture.
    Thank you a lot for the information you've given.
    Don't you get any motion stripes of the stars at 75 seconds?

    Kind regards
  3. Kevin, this shot is simply stunning!!!! a shot of M45 like this is on my buck list.

    Klaus, the shot is on an equatorial mount that was guided very precisely. Kevin did an awesome job of guiding the system.

    alexis and Georgie Beagle

    " in my day we left shots like this to the big Schmidt cameras...." - Georgie Beagle
  4. Thanks so much! Yes, my D500 was mounted on the top of my Meade LX200 which was being guided.

    Thank you! This is the first year I have left the telescope outside in the cold, then put myself there. I was out last night until about 2:00 taking more subs on a couple other messier objects.... stay tuned... :) 
  5. ITEPfoto


    Jul 24, 2018
    St. Louis Missouri
    John M.
    Great picture. I dabble with astrophotography and have been considering stepping up to "tracking". Can you recommend a star tracker, such as iOptron SkyTracker (or other option)?
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  6. Nice shot of the Milky Way!

    I really don't know anything about the iOptron or similar. My experience is limited to my Meade and having in permanently mounted in an observatory in my backyard - so polar alignment is where I left it last time. I would suggest to go over to Cloudy Nights as I am sure someone there can help you.

    Tracking is not the easiest thing - it depends on a lot of variables. When I started 5 years ago - getting 75 seconds without trails would have been great. Today, I have done up to 10 minutes with no trails - but that depends on a lot of atmospheric variables.
  7. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Stunning imagery and impressive "smarts" and gear to get such great results!
  8. Thanks!
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