Photo of the Week for January 2, 2015
Also known as M45, the Pleiades in Taurus are what you might call an “all-rounder.” The cluster is a tantalizing naked-eye sight, a stunner in binoculars, and as this wonderfully deep and detailed image by Mike Bonin illustrates, a great target for imagers. Even professional astronomers are keenly interested in the Pleiades as it represents a key to understanding stellar evolution. Surprisingly, the distance to this important group of stars is still in dispute. Recent studies now have the cluster lying 444 light-years away, instead of the 392 light years previously accepted.
Bonin captured this 120-minute exposure of the Pleiades with a modified Nikon D5100 camera attached to a Explore Scientific 102 mm apochromatic refractor telescope.