NGC 1435 - The Merope Nebula in M45


Copyright 2007 Hap Griffin

The beautiful Merope Nebula in the Pleiades open star cluster.  It is the most conspicuous reflection nebula in the cluster and can be spotted visually even in small telescopes.  It was discovered by William Tempel in 1859 and was originally called Tempel's Nebula.  It gets its current name from the bright star, Merope, imbedded within and causing it to reflect a rich blue light.  The nebulosity was once thought to be the birth cloud of the stars in the Pleiades cluster, but it has been determined that the star cluster and the nebula are traveling in different directions and happen to be meeting each other at this time.  The "combed" appearance of the nebula is theorized to be caused by intertwining magnetic fields within.  

A wider view of the Pleiades cluster and the Merope Nebula can see seen HERE.

NGC 1435 lies at a distance of 400 light-years.

Date/Location:    October 13, 2007     Griffin/Hunter II Observatory    Bethune, SC
Instrument:    Canon 40D Digital SLR through 10" Orion Newtonian w/ MPCC Coma Corrector 
Focal Ratio:   f/4.7
Guiding:    Auto through Orion ED-80 w/ SBIG ST-237
Conditions:    Visually clear
Weather:    50 deg. F 
Exposure: 120 minutes total @ ISO 800 (24 x 5 min exposures)
Filters:    Baader UV/IR Block
Processing:    Focused and captured with DSLRFocus.  Calibrations, frame alignment and stacking, scaling and JPEG conversion with ImagesPlus.  Color correction, curves and levels with Photoshop CS2.  Noise reduction with NeatImage.