Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2018 May 28
Explanation: Is this really the famous Pleaides star cluster? Known for its iconic blue stars, the Pleaides is shown here in infrared light where the surrounding dust outshines the stars. Here three infrared colours have been mapped into visual colours (R=24, G=12, B=4.6 microns). The base images were taken by NASA's orbiting Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft. Catalogued as M45 and nicknamed the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades star cluster is by chance situated in a passing dust cloud. The light and winds from the massive Pleiades stars preferentially repels smaller dust particles, causing the dust to become stratified into filaments, as seen. The featured image spans about 20 light years at the distance of the Pleiades, which lies about 450 light years distant toward the constellation of the Bull (Taurus).
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.