The star Taygeta (q Tau)
A steady mount and extremely clear skies gave me the conditions I was waiting for to test long (3-minute) exposures. This is just 7 of them. I purposefully increased the saturation to make this an almost celebatory looking skyscape.
A supersaturated Mars glows furiously in sight of the pale Pleiades.
A rare meeting of Mars and the Pleiades.
The Pleiades rise with Mars. This is my second year of astrophotography, and I got a bit sentimental when I realized I would be able to see the Pleiades in the morning. When I started this hobby in 2020 in the Pacific Northwest, the nights were long and cold while the planets rose high and early. Orion dominated the southern skies, and the Seven Sisters were ever present. My first photographs using a regular camera were of this easy-to-locate cluster with pockets of nebulosity. Seeing them again heralds Autumn, with new nebula, wide field shots of flames and horseheads, rosettes and runners, sisters and monkeyheads. So, I decided to capture a picture and as I was framing the 55mm shot, I realized Mars could just squeeze into it. It was past nautical dawn, so I ditched the idea of a 5-minute exposure. Normally I stack 30-second exposures, but I felt like 2 minutes would be enough to capture the cluster even if I didn't catch the wispy blue nebulosity while keeping Mars from completely oversaturating. Here's the result. This is a single two-minute exposure of 'The Pleiades rise with Mars.'
My favorite signal of winter is the magical faint glow that glimmers in your peripheral vision but fades to a blur when you gaze head on. Magnification reveals several bright blue stars burrowing through long filaments of ionized gas and dust. The brightest of these are the famed Seven Sisters or Pleiades.
Version of M45 reprocessed to reveal the interstellar dust.
One of my favorite winter targets, the Pleiades are easily visible as a bright cluster of stars that resemble a 'tiny dipper.' You can see their faint bluish/purple glow with the naked eye and the Seven Sisters are photogenic and multiple focal lengths. This is a series of broadband RGB long exposures to bring out the subtle dust and nebulosity that surround this young group of stars.
A long exposure reveals the wispy tendrils of nebulosity that surround the major stars in M45 like a cocoon.