Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors

Astrophotography Brian A. Morganti

M45 - The Pleiades

aka The Seven Sisters






The Pleiades (also known as the "seven sisters") is an open star cluster readily recognized by its "little dipper" shape.  The cluster contains 500 stars spread across a sphere about 14 light-years wide at a distance of 400 light-years.  A telescope can show faint nebulosity of interstellar dust that blossoms on long exposure images.  The cluster is moving with a radial velocity different from the nebulosity, suggesting that its stars are crossing the path of dust in a molecular cloud.  The Pleiades can be seen nearly overhead from northern latitudes on January evenings.


  • Date & Location:  January 15, 2012 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm wind and very cold---18F at start, 12F at finish.

  • Sky Conditions:  Average to above average transparency. 

  • SQM-L: Average Start 20:18 / Stop 20:38

  • Optics:  TeleVue NP101is Refractor with 0,8x focal reducer (432mm f/l)

  • Filter:  Astronomic  EOS clip-in CLS-CCD (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  AstroPhysics AP900GTO

  • Guiding:  Orion SSAG

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500D) Hap Griffin Modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  135 min (2 hours 15 min) 17 x 5min @ ISO 800 RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  None, sub freezing.

  • Processing:  Images Plus 3.82, PS CS4, Noise Ninja, GradientXTerminator, NIK 

  • Comments:  This was my first attempt auto guiding with the SSAG and default settings.  Results were only slightly improved from unguided images with the AP900GTO, but should improve by tweaking some settings.


The below image was one of my first attempts at imaging and was captured using

a shorter focal length telescope with fewer sub-exposures.  Better processing techniques

also helped greatly in improving the above image.





  • Date & Location:  October 19, 2009 - Bernville, PA

  • Weather:  Calm wind - 38F.

  • Sky Conditions:  Clear with average transparency. 

  • Optics:  TeleVue TV60is Refractor (360mm -f/6) with field flattener.

  • Filter:  Hutech IDAS-LPS (Light Pollution Suppression)

  • Mount:  Losmandy G-11 equatorial with Gemini V4

  • Guiding:  None

  • Camera:  Canon T1i (500D) Hap Griffin Modified - Baader UV/IR

  • Exposure:  43 min (6 x 5min, 1 x 7 min, 1 x 6 min) @ ISO 800, RAW

  • Calibration Frames:  In camera dark frame subtraction

  • Processing:  Photoshop CS4, Noise Ninja, NIK 

  • Comments:  This is one of my first light images that was tracked, but not guided.  Polar alignment was off in part due to an off center reticle in my polar alignment scope and PEC was needed as well.



Astrophotography  -  Nightscapes & Deep Sky Colors