The Pleiades (Messier 45)


The Pleiades open star cluster is considered by many to be the most stunningly beautiful cluster of bright stars in the heavens.  The brighter six stars are easily visible to the unaided eye even in light polluted skies.  The nine brightest stars are easily visible even through inexpensive binoculars.  Brighter portions of the blue reflection nebula, called the Merope nebula, is visible through binoculars under excellent sky conditions.  

Imaging Details

Date: February 23, 2006
Location: Cupertino, CA
Scope: Takahashi FS102 @ 600mm
Guiding: Vixen 60mm refractor with SBIG ST-4
Mount: Losmandy G-11
Camera: SBIG ST2000XM
Filters: Custom Scientific in FLI CFW
Exposure details (two frame mosaic, times are for each frame)
  Red 1x16 min
  Blue 3x8 min
  Green 3x8 min
Processing: MaximDL for calibration, alignment and combining.  
PSCS for final processing
Noise Ninja for noise reduction in the nebula region
Note: Diffraction spikes were achieved using a pair of
crossed bamboo skewers in front of the objective.