The Pleiades in IR


Pleiades_WISEOne of my favorite objects in the autumn sky is the Pleiades. This false-color image shows the star cluster as seen through the eyes of WISE, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. It’s a mosaic of several hundred images from the more than one million WISE captured in its first survey of the entire sky in infrared light.

All four infrared detectors aboard WISE were used to make this mosaic. Blue and cyan represent infrared light at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 µm, which is dominated by light from stars. Green and red represent light at 12 and 22 µm, which is mostly light from warm dust.

Image Credit: NASA

The Pleiades: Round 5


Pleiades_WISEThis false-color image shows the  Pleiades cluster of stars as seen through the eyes of WISE, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. It’s a mosaic of several hundred images from the more than one million WISE captured in its first survey of the entire sky in infrared light.

All four infrared detectors aboard WISE were used to make this mosaic. Blue and cyan represent infrared light at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 µm, which is dominated by light from stars. Green and red represent light at 12 and 22 µm, which is mostly light from warm dust.

Image Credit: NASA

The Pleiades: Round 3


Pleiades_Spitzer_MeropeThe Merope Nebula (aka NGC 1435) is a diffuse reflection nebula in the Pleiades star cluster, surrounding the 4th magnitude star Merope. It appears to be about the size of the full moon. It is illuminated entirely by the star Merope which is embedded in the nebula. The nebula appears blue in visible light photographs because of the fine carbon dust spread throughout the cloud. This false color view was put together using infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Image Credit: NASA

The Pleiades: Round 2


PleiadesIn Greek mythology the Pleiades were seven sisters who were the daughters of the titan Atlas. After Atlas was forced to carry the heavens on his shoulders, Orion began to pursue all of the Pleiades, and Zeus transformed them first into doves and then into stars to comfort their father. The constellation of Orion is said to still pursue them across the night sky.

The Pleiades is an open cluster of stars that is prominent in the winter sky and one of my favorite objects for naked-eye viewing. When I was a kid, I could see at least a dozen or so stars in the cluster in a dark sky. My elderly eyes still do almost as well.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA / AURA / Caltech

The Pleiades in IR


Pleiades_WISEThis false-color image shows the  Pleiades cluster of stars as seen through the eyes of WISE, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. It’s a mosaic of several hundred images from the more than one million WISE captured in its first survey of the entire sky in infrared light.

All four infrared detectors aboard WISE were used to make this mosaic. Blue and cyan represent infrared light at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 µm, which is dominated by light from stars. Green and red represent light at 12 and 22 µm, which is mostly light from warm dust.

Image Credit: NASA

Merope Nebula


Pleiades_Spitzer_MeropeThe Merope Nebula (aka NGC 1435) is a diffuse reflection nebula in the Pleiades star cluster, surrounding the 4th magnitude star Merope. It appears to be about the size of the full moon. It is illuminated entirely by the star Merope which is embedded in the nebula. The nebula appears blue in visible light photographs because of the fine carbon dust spread throughout the cloud. This false color view was put together using infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Image Credit: NASA

The Pleiades


PleiadesIn Greek mythology the Pleiades were seven sisters who were the daughters of the titan Atlas. After Atlas was forced to carry the heavens on his shoulders, Orion began to pursue all of the Pleiades, and Zeus transformed them first into doves and then into stars to comfort their father. The constellation of Orion is said to still pursue them across the night sky.

The Pleiades is an open cluster of stars that is prominent in the winter sky and one of my favorite objects for naked-eye viewing. When I was a kid, I could see at least a dozen or so stars in the cluster in a dark sky. My elderly eyes still do almost as well.

Image Credit: NASA ESA AURA Caltech