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Astr110 Photography Projects, Spring 2005

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Pleiades-Seven Sisters, Becky Getz

Pleiades-Seven Sisters

Subaru, the Pleiades--the Seven Sisters (Messier object 45) is an open star cluster in the Taurus constellation Anywhere from six to twelve stars are ordinarily visible to the naked eye, depending on the clearness of the sky. Pre-historically, these stars were observed by Homer in 750 B.C. and mentioned in his books Ilias and Odyssey, and by Hesiod around 700 B.C. During this time, the stars were connected to agricultural seasons. In addition, the Bible has three references to the Pleiades; specifically, Job 38:31, Amos 5:8, and Job 9:9 which says God "is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south." In 1579, astronomer Moestlin drew 11 Pleiades stars and Kepler made written observations of up to 14 of them. Modern observations have shown that at least about 500 mostly faint stars belong to the Pleiades cluster, spread over a 2 degree (four times the diameter of the Moon) area. Their density is pretty low, compared to other open clusters and therefore the life expectation of the Pleiades cluster is pretty low. The Pleiades also have the name "Seven Sisters"; according to Greek mythology, seven daughters and their parents. Their Japanese name is "Subaru", which was used for a car of the same name. Old European names indicate they were once compared to a "Hen with Chicks."

Since these stars are visible to the naked eye, their brightness clouded some of the picture; this is a cropped section of some stars in it. The linear distance to the cluster is 4400 light years size and the angular size is 11.95 light years.

References:
http://seds.org/messier/m/m045.html

http://www.eso.org/outreach/eduoff/edu-prog/catchastar/CAS2002/cas-projects/italy_pleiades_1/

Right Ascension (J2000) 03:47:17
Declination (J2000) +24:08:00
Filters used clear(C)
Exposure time per filter 60 seconds
Date observed

April 11, 2005