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The Pleiades

November 12, 2022

The Pleiades an open star cluster rises in the east these days and is relatively easy to find and photograph. To the naked eye it looks like a fuzzy ball.

Telescopes with central obstructions which have spokes to hold their reflecting mirrors cause diffraction spikes which are typical in photos of the cluster. Refractors such as telephoto lens do not have this optical defect and show the cluster as round spots as they should be however to add visual drama to the photos I've introduced twinklings.

Courtesy of Wikipedia:

The Pleiades (/ˈpl.ədz, ˈpl-, ˈpl-/),[7][8] also known as The Seven Sisters, Messier 45 and other names by different cultures, is an asterism and an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars in the north-west of the constellation Taurus. At a distance of about 444 light years, it is among the nearest star clusters to Earth. It is the nearest Messier object to Earth, and is the most obvious cluster to the naked eye in the night sky.

The cluster is dominated by hot blue luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Reflection nebulae around the brightest stars were once thought to be left over material from their formation, but are now considered likely to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium through which the stars are currently passing.[9] This dust cloud is estimated to be moving at a speed of approximately 18 km/s relative to the stars in the cluster.[10]

Computer simulations have shown that the Pleiades were probably formed from a compact configuration that resembled the Orion Nebula.[11] Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.[12]

The Pleiades

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