The Pleiades are an open star cluster currently positioned amid an unrelated cloud of dust. Light from these bright blue stars is illuminating the dust cloud, revealing the dust cloud’s wispy tendrils. It is called a reflection nebula. The cloud is drifting through the cluster at a relative speed of about 11 km/s, and will gradually move on past over the few next thousand years. In the meantime, however, the chance collision creates a beautiful scene, and allows astronomers to learn about the structure of dust lying between stars.
The nine bright stars of the Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, are named after the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione from Greek mythology, plus Atlas and Pleione themselves. The image of the Pleiades below, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, labels them.
- 79× 120-s light frames (Gain 900)
- Full use of calibration frames (darks, flats and dark flats)
- Explore Scientific ED 102 mm Apo f/7 refractor
- Sky-Watcher EQ6-R PRO SynScan GOTO equatorial mount
- Altair Hypercam 294C PRO colour fan-cooled camera
- Revelation Adjustable Field Flattener
- Altair 60mm guide scope
- Altair GPCAM2 AR0130 mono guide camera
- Topaz Labs DeNoise AI