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The Pleiades (Messier 45)

The Pleiades star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters and Messier 45, is one of the brightest star clusters visible in the northern hemisphere. It consists of many bright, hot, young stars that were all formed at the same time around 100 million years ago within a large cloud of interstellar dust and gas. The cluster contains hundreds of stars, of which only a handful are commonly visible to the unaided eye. The blue haze that accompanies them is due to very fine dust which still remains and preferentially reflects the blue light from the stars. This star cluster lie some 425 light years away in the constellation of Taurus. (Text adapted from Astronomy Picture of the Day)

This image is a composite from black and white images taken with the Palomar Observatory's 48-inch (1.2-meter) Samuel Oschin Telescope as a part of the second National Geographic Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (POSS II). The images were recorded on two type of glass photographic plates - one sensitive to red light and the other to blue and later they were digitized. Credit: Caltech, Palomar Observatory, Digitized Sky Survey.

In order to produce the color image seen here, I worked with data coming from 2 different photographic plates taken in 1986 and 1989. Original file is 10.252 x 9.735 pixels with a resolution of about 1 arcsec per pixel. The image shows an area of sky large 2,7 x 2,7 (for comparison, the full-Moon is about 0,5 in diameter). Color composite, copyright: Davide De Martin.

Available for Museum, Planetariums, Publishers and Authors in very high-resolution (100 megapixels). Please, e-mail me with your request.

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All images presented in this website are copyrighted Davide De Martin (2005-2014) otherwise noted. Reproduction or distribution of these images is not permitted without written consent. See also my policy of the use of images for further details or email me. Comments are welcome.
The astronomical images presented in this site were created with the help of the ESA/ESO/NASA FITS Liberator.