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Galaxies, Nebulae and Star Clusters


The Seven Sisters

The Pleiades are an open star cluster. They are not a constellation in it's own rights but rather a part of the constellation Taurus. However, the cluster is such a prominent feature in the night sky that it deserves its own entry.

The asterism is also know as "The Seven Sisters," the name (
Quoting Wikipedia) "... supposedly deriving from that of their mother Pleione and effectively meaning "daughters of Pleione". In reality, the name of the star cluster almost certainly came first, and Pleione was invented later, to explain it."

The stars of the cluster are between 344 and 434 light years away from the sun, making the group one of the star clusters nearest Earth and the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky.
Pleiades in a picture published by Digitized Sky Survey
This section describes the constellation as it is seen in the night sky.

For myth and star lore about the Pleiades, click here.

Star maps based on map provided by Wikipedia

The stars of the Pleiades

The nine brightest stars in the cluster are named after the seven sisters and their parents, Atlas and Pleione.
Number Desig-
Number Desig-
1 η Tau Alcyone
6 19 Tau Taygeta
2 27 Tau Atlas
7 28 Tau Pleione
3 17 Tau Electra
8 16 Tau Celaeno
4 20 Tau Maia
9 21 Tau Asterope
5 23 Tau Merope

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