Oct 20, 2023 - The Pleiades, also known as Messier 45 (M45), is a celestial marvel that has enthralled stargazers for centuries. This stunning open star cluster in the constellation Taurus is a perfect target for both observers and astrophotographers. In this article, we'll explore how to observe and photograph the Pleiades and provide you with a selection of the best telescopes and cameras to capture its beauty.
The Pleiades: A Celestial Gem
Before we dive into the specifics of observing and photographing the Pleiades, let's remind ourselves of why this star cluster is so captivating:
Youthful Brilliance: The Pleiades consist of a group of young, hot, blue stars that collectively shine brilliantly. They create a striking, blue-white celestial tableau.
Mythological Significance: Often referred to as the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades feature prominently in various cultural and mythological stories. This rich history adds an extra layer of fascination to the observation.
Accessible for All: The Pleiades offer an ideal celestial target for both beginners and experienced astronomers. Its bright and compact nature makes it an inviting sight in the night sky.
Now, let's delve into the equipment and techniques required to observe and capture the beauty of the Pleiades.
Selecting the Right Equipment
Choosing the right equipment is vital for a rewarding Pleiades experience. Here are the top 5 telescopes and cameras suited for observing and photographing the Pleiades:
Best Telescopes for Observing the Pleiades:
Celestron NexStar 8SE:
Aperture: 8 inches (203mm)
Focal Length: 2032mm
Mount: Computerized Alt-Azimuth
Key Features: Known for its large aperture, portability, and user-friendly computerized mount, the NexStar 8SE is excellent for observing the Pleiades. It offers clear and detailed views of the star cluster.
Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope:
Type: Newtonian Reflector (Dobsonian)
Aperture: 8 inches (203mm)
Focal Length: 1200mm
Mount: Dobsonian (manual)
Key Features: The XT8 Classic provides great value for its aperture size. While it lacks computerized tracking, its large aperture allows detailed views of the Pleiades.
Sky-Watcher Evostar 72 APO Doublet Refractor:
Type: Apochromatic Refractor
Focal Length: 420mm
Mount: Equatorial or Alt-Azimuth
Key Features: Compact and portable, this refractor is perfect for wide-field views of the Pleiades. Its apochromatic design ensures high-quality, color-corrected images.
Orion StarMax 90mm TableTop Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope:
Focal Length: 1250mm
Mount: Tabletop Equatorial
Key Features: Compact and portable, the StarMax 90mm provides crisp and high-contrast views of the Pleiades.
Meade Instruments Infinity 102mm AZ Refractor Telescope:
Best Cameras for Photographing the Pleiades: