Aldebaran and the Hyades Cluster – Taurus

The Hyades is a beautiful open cluster of about 150 – 200 stars located in the constellation of Taurus. The cluster is named after the daughters of Atlas & Aethra,who were therefore half sisters to the Pleiades. Aldebaran or Alpha Tauri is the brightest star in Taurus, it is a mere 68 light years from Earth and about 40 times larger than our Sun. It is a red giant with almost 100 times the luminosity of the Sun.

Hyades-121107-230am-labelle  Click image for larger view …

Taurus is the constellation of the Bull and it contains 2 beautiful star clusters the Pleiades & the Hyades.

The Hyades: Greek mythology does not agree on how many sisters there were, 5 6 or 7 but seven stars are named after them as shown in the picture above. Aldebaran is also labelled but it is not a member of the cluster. The Hyades open cluster lies about 150 light years away from Earth and has been known to mankind since prehistoric times. The cluster is one of the closest to earth. It’s distance having been calculated from basic geometry, it is one of the corner stones of setting up our astronomical distance scale. The classic ‘V’ shape of this cluster runs from the Bull’s eyes down towards its nostrils.

About the image: Taken during one of the few clear nights of the last few weeks. I was experimenting with mixing different apertures for a wide field object; I don’t think any advantage was gained by so doing. The image is a small stack of images, amounting to 10 minutes total exposure mainly at f6.3. Processing was in Iris, Photoshop & Lightroom, as usual.

Find out more about the Hyades at their SEDS page.



Leave a Reply