One of my first images of M45 The Pleiades Star Cluster with the Skywatcher Equinox 80mm ED APO refractor. Just 2 hours and 20 minutes of data. The Pleiades are a prominent sight in winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and are also known as the Seven Sisters.

M45 the Pleiades star cluster. Shawn Nielsen, 2010

This is an impressive image for me because I’ve only been doing astrophotography since July 2008… Seriously anyhow since I did dabble in it when I was teenager. There wasn’t any computer control or autoguiding back then for amateur telescopes. It was film cameras then and manually guided sitting at an off-axis guider eyepiece keep a star centered on two illuminated recticles by using the hand controller for the RA and Dec axis motors.  How times have changed!

Cekestron CPC800 with Equinox 80 APO refractorIts taken a good 2 years to perfect my skills in astro imaging. Both in acquiring the data but also processing it.

What I need to add to this setup is a field flattener. This will correct the misshaped stars in the corners. I’ve added this to the list of astro equipment to get … the never ending list!

M45 star cluster is visible with to the unaided eye. It is sometimes mistaken for the little dipper having a similar appearance when viewing it without optical aid. The stars of this cluster are hot blue and extremely luminous (bright). The Pleiades name is said to originate from Ancient Greek, meaning to “sail”. This is thought to be of importance in delimiting the sailing season in the Mediterranean Sea.

The stars of the Pleaides cluster are surrounded by intricate blue filaments of nebulosity. It’s the result of starlight reflecting off grains of interstellar dust in this region of space. The stars are actually passing through this dust as they travel through space.


Skywatcher Equinox 80mm F5.9 ED APO refractor

Canon 350XT 8mp modified DSLR

The above was piggy backed on a Celestron CPC800 SCT for tracking

Nebulosity for acquistion and PHD/Starshoot autoguider

Processed in PS


Leave a comment...

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.
Verified by MonsterInsights