Messier 45 in Taurus, also very well known as the Pleiades and the Seven Sisters, is in the top echelon of iconic deep-sky objects. Unrivalled as an open cluster in the late autumn and winter skies, M45 spans three-times the full Moonʼs diameter and looks magnificent in binoculars and small telescopes. The cluster is swathed in nebulosity, which is much easier to image than see through the eyepiece.
This marvellous LRGB portrait of M45 was taken by Ian Aiken using a side-by-side set up of a William Optics GT81 (Gold) and Skywatcher 80ED, both mounted on a NEQ6. Luminance frames were taken through the GT81, with an ATIK 460EXM CCD camera and Hutech IDAS LP filter. The colour was handled by the 80ED and a QHY8L camera. Ian shot a mixture of 300 and 900 second sub-exposures to total 16 hours for each ʻscope. All stacking and processing was performed in PixInsight with final touches in Photoshop. Note the distant galaxy UGC 2838 shows up nicely in this image.