Last year we had a Mars opposition event. Many amazing images of Mars were captured over the last year, by both amateurs and also professionals – one of my favorites is this rotating map https://www.dpreview.com/news/5992028327/video-astrophotographer-jean-luc-dauvergne-creates-stunning-global-map-of-mars . This year Mars is travelling across several constellations including Taurus, and it passed close to Pleiades open cluster and these two celestial bodies created eye-catching conjunction.

Mars is visiting Seven Sisters (this is another name of the M45 Pleiades cluster) only apparently, of course. Mars is located very, very “close” to us comparing to the Pleiades. If you put tiny Mars and Earth 1mm apart, then you would need to place the Pleiades about 20 kilometers away to keep the scale! This is how the Universe looks like. But these two sky targets make a really pleasant view when they are close – both are quite bright, and also the color difference is striking.

Stars of the Pleiades cluster are surrounded by dust. This dust is illuminated by hot and young stars, so it shines as a reflective nebula. However, these stars were not born in this dust cloud, but somewhere else about 100 million years ago. The cluster is traveling across space and only lately it met the molecular cloud that surrounds it. Within the next few million years, M45 cluster stars will leave this region.

Pleiades and Mars

It is one of the first images made with a QHY247C color camera. The extensive review will appear here in the blog soon (the first part is already there), but I must admit I am very happy with this camera sensitivity, dynamics, uniform noise distribution, and easy color calibration.

Image technical data:

Date: 2 March, 2021
Location: Nieborowice, Poland
Telescope: Samyang 135 f/2.8
Corrector: none
Camera: QHY247C, gain 2000
Mount: SW Adventurer
Guiding: 30mm + ASI290M
Exposure: 15x2 minutes
Conditions: Bortle 6, transparency good