"Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."
Messier 45 or NGC 1432/35 The Pleiades - The Seven Sisters
Right Ascension 3h 47m 24s - Declination +24° 07′ 00″
Imaging Telescope or Lens: Taken with a Primalucelabs AIRY Apo 65F 420mm f/6.5 Astrograph
M45, also known as the Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters. It is a bright open cluster with reflection nebula in the constellation of Taurus at a distance of 400 light-years from earth. There are several hot and bright blue stars in the cluster along with about 1000 other stars and they are thought to be about 100 million years old.
The cluster is dominated by hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Dust that forms a faint reflection nebulosity around the brightest stars was thought at first to be left over from the formation of the cluster (hence the alternative name Maia Nebula after the star Maia). but is now known to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium, through which the stars are currently passing. Computer simulations have shown that the Pleiades were probably formed from a compact configuration that resembled the Orion Nebula. 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.
The nine brightest stars which are commonly seen are Sterope, Merope, Electra, Maia, Taygeta, Alcyone, and Celaeno all of which are named for the Seven Sisters and are daughters of Atlas (father) and Pleione (mother) the other two brightest stars. There are a few nebulous regions around some of the stars. The Maia nebula, NGC 1432 surrounds the star Maia and consists of stringy, hair like nebulosity. In between Maia and Merope lays two fairly bright horizontal lines that almost appear like a scratch across the lens. It is thought that these streaky lines are shaped by the magnetic alignment of the dust particles in the area. The Tempels nebula, NGC 1435 is below Merope and is slightly different in color from the rest of the area.
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