Pleiades Perfection: Amateur Astronomer Snaps Spectacular Photo of 'Seven Sisters'
The Pleiades star cluster (M45) is a group of 800 stars formed about 100 million years ago. The cluster is located 410 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Taurus.
Credit: Chuck Manges | www.astrochuck.blogspot.com

The famous blue formation of the Pleiades star cluster radiates beautifully in this image recently sent to Space.com.

The Pleiades star cluster, also known as M45 or the Seven Sisters, is a group of 800 stars that formed about 100 million years ago and is located 410 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Taurus. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).

Astrophotographer Chuck Manges of Hooversville, Pa., used a QHY9M camera and an AT65EDQ telescope on Aug. 14 and Sept. 4, 2013 to capture the image (luminance 9x600 bin 1x1, red 6x300 bin 2x2, green 6x300 2x2, blue 9x300 bin 2x2).

Though they look serene and silent from our vantage on Earth, stars are actually roiling balls of violent plasma. Test your stellar smarts with this quiz.
Open Star Cluster Messier 50
0 of 10 questions complete
Star Quiz: Test Your Stellar Smarts
Though they look serene and silent from our vantage on Earth, stars are actually roiling balls of violent plasma. Test your stellar smarts with this quiz.
Open Star Cluster Messier 50
0 of questions complete

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COSMOS FirstScope Telescope, Celestron Newtonian reflector optical system features a spherical mirror with a generous 76 mm of aperture. Buy Here
Credit: Space.com Store

Bright stars Atlas and Pleione, along with their seven daughter stars, typically make up what we can see with the naked eye. The hot blue glow of the brightest stars, which were formed within the last 100 million years, means they are extremely luminous and burn out quickly. Scientists estimate these stars will survive for more than 200 million years before they die out.

To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by Space.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

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