About 450 light-years away in the constellation of Taurus there is a famous Pleiades cluster, that landed in the Messier catalog under the M45 symbol but is also known as Seven Sisters. The brightest stars of the Pleiades are named for the seven sisters of Greek mythology: Sterope, Merope, Electra, Maia, Taygete, Celaeno, and Alcyone, along with their parents Atlas and Pleione.

Hot blue Pleiades stars were only formed within the last 100 million years. However, the faint nebula around is not a leftover from the formation of the cluster – Seven Sisters are actually moving through a cloud of interstellar matter. This faint nebulosity appears easily on the photographs but is also possible to be observed visually under a dark sky. This young open cluster will not survive for long in space. Tidal interactions will tear it apart in about 250 million years. M45 will be traveling to the southern portion of Orion by then.

M45 Pleiades
M45 Pleiades

Full resolution https://astrojolo.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/2022-02-26-m45-3.jpg

I have captured subframes for the image above at the beginning of March during two fairly clear nights. Under my suburban, light-polluted sky it is important to have transparent air, so the surrounding lights are not scattered much. Even then the naked eye limit is about 5mag, and the corresponding sky brightness is about 19.50 mag per arcsec2. However, that is enough to catch the Pleiades and also surrounding nebula within 2-3 hours of exposure made by the OSC camera.

I have already imaged the Pleiades some time ago, but that setup has a narrower field of view, so it looks quite tight. If you are interested in the Pleiades stars you also may take look at the entry, where I captured spectra of cluster stars. The current setup field of view is about 3 by 2 degrees, so that is quite a lot of new targets to capture, that was out of my reach before.

Clear skies!

Image technical data:

Date: March 2022
Location: Nieborowice, Poland
Telescope: Tecnosky 90/540 Owl triplet
Corrector: TS FF/FR 0.8x
Camera: QHY247C
Mount: iOptron CEM26
Guiding: ASI290MM + Sonnar 135
Exposure: 150x1 minute
Conditions: Bortle 6, transparency good, seeing medium