Readers’ wildlife photos

We’ll have just one photo today. Since stars play a role in the mythology of Christmas, here’s a star picture from reader Tim Anderson in Australia. His notes:

One of the most beautiful sights of the summer skies is the Pleiades star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters.

Imaged 24/12/18 in Cowra, NSW

The image comprises ten 240-second frames stacked and aligned in Nebulosity 4 and post-processed in Photoshop. 127mm refractor telescope; ASI071MCPro camera cooled to -20° C and fitted with an Astronomik L2 UV/IR cut filter; Skywatcher EQ8 mount

The cluster is known in Japan as “Subaru”, hence the grill badge on cars of the eponymous manufacturer.

Click to enlarge:


  1. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted December 25, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    One of the most beautiful sights of the summer skies is the Pleiades star cluster

    That’s the summer in Australia and the rest of the southern hemisphere.
    When I first started walking the mountains, I learned to count the Pleiades which I could distinguish to get an idea of how cold it was going to be tonight. Four Pleiads or fewer meant there was enough thin, high cloud that it wasn’t going to be much below freezing; five or six would mean a good freezing night and hard snow and ice in the morning ; seven or more and it is going to be a hard night and absolutely brassic if I’d only got my three-season bag in the rucksack. But that would be OK because it encourages you to get moving well before dawn to get the best of the snow.

  2. John Dentinger
    Posted December 25, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Ok, so I’ve always wondered–why are there only six stars on the Subaru badge?

    • Terry Platt
      Posted December 25, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      There are many more than 7 stars in the cluster, but most are below naked eye visibility. The 7th brightest is Pleione and is not so easy to see under light polluted skies. I believe that it is a binary ‘shell star’ with an unstable brightness and my have faded somewhat since ancient times. Its rotation speed is so high that it is close to being disrupted by centrifugal force and is highly elliptical in shape. As it is difficult to see, Subaru must have decided that 6 stars were enough for their badge.

      • Posted December 25, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the explanation, as I was wondering why it looked like 8 or more.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 25, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Nice photo. Just in case you were thinking about buying one in the U.S. They donate $250 to the ASPCA for every Subaru purchased.

  4. Terry Platt
    Posted December 25, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Hi Jerry,

    Where should one send photos for the ‘Wildlife’ pages?

    Regards, Terry

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 25, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      google Jerry Coyne. Go to the Chicago page and get his email there.

  5. Terry Platt
    Posted December 25, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Thanks Randall!

  6. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted December 25, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Nice! And interesting too to learn how these pictures may be taken. I remember this cluster well as a youngster. It was one of the first objects that i observed with my first telescope.

  7. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 25, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    One day I’d love to get pics like this –

  8. Claudia Baker
    Posted December 26, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Really beautiful.

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