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M45 Maia and Surrounding Nebula
Amy Kroll

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Located in the Pleiades open star cluster, Maia is the fourth brightest star of the cluster. This cluster is also known as the Seven Sisters or M45. As an open star cluster, The Pleiades is a group of stars that are farther apart from each other and generally younger than a globular cluster. The Pleiades is one of the most visible star clusters and can be seen high in northern hemisphere in autumn and winter skies, while it appears closer to the horizon in the skies of southern hemisphere spring and summer. The earliest known references to this cluster are by Homer in both his plays The Iliad (about 750 B.C.) and The Odyssey (about 720 B.C.). The Bible also has three references to the Pleiades (the Hebrew "Kiymah"). Two are found in Job: Job 9:7-9, Job 38:31-33 while the third is in Amos 5:8.


Maia, which is a star inside the Pleiades, is a blue-white class B (B8) giant star. It radiates 660 times more energy than the Sun from a surface with a temperature of about 12,600 Kelvin. Maia has a radius 5 1/2 times larger than the Sun and a mass 4 times greater than the sun, giving Maia a place among the blue main sequence stars. Maia is involved with the Pleiades reflection nebula that peaks around Merope, the light reflected by the dust in the nebula to create a vivid blue color. The nebula visible around Maia has height of about 1.6 light years and length of about 1.4 light years.

References:

Kaler, Jim. "Maia". STARS. Web. Dec. 5 2010 <http://stars.astro.illinois.edu/sow/maia.html>

Frommert, Hartmut, and Christine Kronberg. "Messier 45." Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. Accessed 3 Dec. 2010. <http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m045.html>.

Right Ascension (J2000) 3:45:49
Declination (J2000) +24:22:03
Filters used blue(B), green(V), red(R), and clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 300 sec.in B, 60 sec. in R, V, and C
Date observed

Oct. 28, 2010

 

Note: The image used a pseudo color technique to make the image blue.

 

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