Monday, May 13, 2013 1:50pm -0400

Southern Sky Jewels: The Southern Pleiades

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The Southern Pleiades The Southern Pleiades Jason Brown

Night sky enthusiast have all at one time or another heard of the Pleiades, also called the Seven Sisters. Did you know there is a Southern Pleiades? While looking at Jason Brown's beautiful night sky photos I came across one titled "The Southern Pleiades". Perplexed I quickly asked Jason, who is my southern sky guy, about it and said "The Southern Pleiades is that even a thing?" He said yes indeed it was a thing. It happens to be a pretty amazing thing from the Southern Hemisphere I found out.


 There are so many incredible wonders to be seen from southern skies that we cannot see from the Northern Hemisphere. The Southern Pleiades is just one example of the sparkling gems found in the night sky from the Southern Hemisphere. The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) are small irregular galaxies that can be seen tagging along a backwards Milky Way in the southern night sky. 

IC 2602 (and Caldwell 102) (also known as the Theta Carinae Cluster or Southern Pleiades) is an open cluster in the constellation Carina. It was discovered by Abbe Lacaille in 1751 from South Africa. The cluster is at a distance of about 479 light-years away from Earth and can be seen with the naked eye. The Southern Pleiades (IC 2602) has an overall apparent magnitude of 1.9, which is 70% fainter than the Taurean Pleiades, and contains about 60 stars. Theta Carinae, the brightest star within the open cluster, is a third-magnitude star with an apparent magnitude of +2.74. All the other stars within the cluster are of the fifth magnitude and fainter. Like its northern counterpart in Taurus, the Southern Pleiades spans a sizable area of sky, approximately 50 arc-minutes, so it is best viewed with large binoculars or telescope with a wide-angle eyepiece. The cluster is thought to have the same age as the open cluster IC 2391,[1] which has a lithium depletion boundary age of 50 million years old.(Wikipedia)

Jason Brown took this photo from his home in New Zealand. To see more southern sky photos and to buy a print check out Jason's photos in our Photo Gallery.

Read 6854 times Last modified on Thursday, June 20, 2013 1:12pm -0400
Laurel Nendza

Laurel Nendza is the owner and creator of Stellar Eyes.

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