Pleiades Star Cluster Sparkles in Amazing Stargazer Photo

Pleiades Star Cluster by Josh Knutson
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. Astrophotographer Josh Knutson of Aurora, Colo. sent deep-exposure, widefield photo to on Jan. 7, 2014. (Image credit: Josh Knutson)

The Pleiades star cluster dazzles brilliantly in this deep-exposure, widefield photo recently sent in to by a veteran astrophotographer.

"The exposure was deep enough to draw out the extended interstellar dust surrounding the cluster," night sky photographer Josh Knutson of Aurora, Colo.wrote "There are also some tiny magnitude 15-17 galaxies showing up in the background."

Comprising 800 stars, the Pleiades star cluster (M45) was formed about 100 million years ago and is located 410 light-years from Earth in the constellation Taurus. One light-year is the distance light travels in a single year, which is about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers). Bright stars Atlas and Pleione, along with their seven daughter stars make up what we can typically see with the naked eye.

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for She began writing and producing content for in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.