The Pleiades

The Pleiades

The Seven Sisters

The Pleiades, also called the Seven Sisters, are the best known open star cluster.

There are an estimated 1,000 or more stars in the cluster but only six can be seen easily without a telescope. Like typical open cluster stars, the Pleiades are relatively young, and they formed at roughly the same time.

Image: An infrared image of the Pleiades shrouded in dust (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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The Pleiades


The Seven Sisters star cluster has at least 1,000 stars.

About The Pleiades

In astronomy, the Pleiades (/ˈplədz/ or /ˈplədz/), or Seven Sisters (Messier 45 or M45), is an open star cluster containing middle-aged, hot B-type stars located in the constellation of Taurus. It is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky. The celestial entity has several meanings in different cultures and traditions.

The cluster is dominated by hot blue and extremely luminous stars that have formed within the last 100 million years. Dust that forms a faint reflection nebulosity around the brightest stars was thought at first to be left over from the formation of the cluster (hence the alternative name Maia Nebula after the star Maia), but is now known to be an unrelated dust cloud in the interstellar medium, through which the stars are currently passing. Computer simulations have shown that the Pleiades was probably formed from a compact configuration that resembled the Orion Nebula. Astronomers estimate that the cluster will survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.

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