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Next level for my auto-challenges in astronomy themed LEGO projects : A 3D star cluster ! (that glows in the dark, of course ;) ).
I chose the majestic Pleiades cluster, visible with the naked eye during winter nights, composed of plenty of bright blue, young and hot stars. This cluster is at about 444 light-years from Earth (spanning on approximatively 200 light years between the closest star member to the furthest), and has a mean age of 115 million years.
This is made with actual real astrometry and distance data from ESA's Gaia spacecraft, using Aladin Sky Atlas professional astronomy software by Centre de Données de Strasbourg.
Looking from front, the pattern of stars that one sees is the very same as the one shown on photographs of the real cluster. Speaking of depth, then, each glowing mark on the board is separated by 10 LEGO units, corresponding to approximatively 28 light years of depth, with the scale I used. I could add these distance indications in a future update :)
Currently, the horizontal and vertical scales used in the model match (these are the ones derived from astrometry on real photographs), but, the scale in depth (distances from Earth given by Gaia spacecraft) is different. I may find a way to match the 3 scales in a future update to obtain a fully realistic 3D star cluster. The present one is simply a bit squished in the depth dimension :) (But I think it does the job nonetheless !)
All stars, titles and graduations glow in the dark ! (the small indications don't glow yet as Studio 2.0 software does'nt provide glowing letters on black tiles, but I believe this could be achieved by LEGO ;))
This star cluster model is composed of 75 stars coming with 4 different sizes corresponding -not to the actual sizes of the stars- but to the actual differences in visual magnitudes of the stars (how much they shine in the sky from Earth's observer point of view).
The 6 biggest ones are named, from left to right : Atlas, Alcyone, Merope, Electra, Maïa and Taygeta.
This LEGO model is made of 1911 LEGO bricks.
Made by an astronomy outreach scientist :)