Pleiades


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Pleiades

(plē`ədēz, plī`–), in astronomy, famous open star clusterstar cluster,
a group of stars near each other in space and resembling each other in certain characteristics that suggest a common origin for the group. Stars in the same cluster move at the same rate and in the same direction.
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 in the constellation Taurus; cataloged as M45. The cluster consists of some 500 stars, has a diameter of 35 light-years, and is 400 light-years distant from the earth. Six stars are easily visible to the naked eye—Alcyone (the brightest), Electra, Celaeno, Sterope, Maia, and Taygete. Known as the Seven Sisters, this group was named by the Greeks for the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione; the seventh Pleiad was, according to legend, lost or in hiding. Many faint stars associated with the other six are visible with the telescope; one of these stars may have been much brighter and visible to the naked eye in ancient times, thus accounting for the many early references to seven stars. The Pleiades cluster is 150 million years old, making it a young star cluster.

Pleiades,

in Greek mythology, seven daughters of Atlas and the nymph Pleione. According to one legend they were the attendants of Artemis and were changed into stars by the gods when they were pursued by the amorous hunter Orion. Their names were Maia, Merope, Electra, Celaeno, Taygete, Sterope (or Asterope), and Alcyone. The lost Pleiad was either ElectraElectra
, in Greek mythology. 1 Daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. After her mother and Aegisthus murdered Agamemnon, Electra, eager for revenge, longed only for the return of her brother, Orestes.
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 (2) or MeropeMerope
, in Greek mythology. 1 One of the Pleiades. She was the wife of Sisyphus, king of Corinth, and the mother of Glaucus. According to one legend she became the lost Pleiad because of the shame she felt for having married a mortal. 2 Daughter of Oenopion.
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.

Pleiades

(plee -ă-deez, plÿ -) (Seven Sisters; M45) A young open cluster about 135 parsecs away in the constellation Taurus. It contains maybe 3000 stars of which at least six are visible to the naked eye: Alcyone, Maia, Atlas, Electra, Merope, and Taygeta; Pleione could once have been brighter. The brightest stars are blue-white (B or Be) and highly luminous, the less bright ones being mainly A and F stars. Gas and dust surrounding the brighter stars reflect the starlight thus producing faint reflection nebulae. Some of these nebulae have been separately cataloged. Thus NGC 1432 is the bright nebula surrounding Maia, while NGC 1435 refers to Tempel's nebula, the nebulosity within which Merope is embedded.

Pleiades

 

an open, or galactic, cluster in Taurus. Six to nine of the brightest stars of the cluster can be seen with the naked eye. Statistical calculations have established that there are about 540 stars in the cluster, although the number is probably much greater. The brightest star in the Pleiades is Alcyone (η Tauri);

Table 1. The brightest stars In the Pleiades
NameVisual magnitude
Note: Between Celaeno and Pleione there is a star of magnitude 5.45. and between Celaeno and Asterope I a star of magnitude 5.65
Alcyone(η Tauri)...............................2.87
Atlas......................................3.64
Electra ....................................3.71
Maia......................................3.88
Merope ....................................4.18
Taygeta....................................4.31
Pleione ....................................5.09
Celaeno....................................5.46
Asterope I ..................................5.76
Asterope II ..................................6.16

like other bright stars in the cluster (see Table 1), Alcyone is a hot star of spectral class B. As shown clearly in long-exposure photographs, the bright stars of the Pleiades illuminate surrounding sections of the large dust nebula within which the entire cluster is located. The cluster has a diameter of 15 parsecs, or about 49 light-years. All the stars of the cluster move through space along nearly parallel paths.


Pleiades

 

in Greek mythology, the seven daughters of Atlas and of the Oceanid Pleione. According to one variant of the myth, the hunter Orion met the Pleiades and for several years sought their love until Zeus turned both the Pleiades and Orion into constellations. Even in the sky, Orion cannot overtake the Pleiades. Metaphorically, the term refers to a group of outstanding poets or political or military leaders. Examples are the Alexandrian Pleiad of the third century B.C., the French Pléiade of the 16th century A.D., and the Pushkin Pleiad of the 19th century, all composed of poets.

Pleiades

[′plē·ə‚dēz]
(astronomy)
An open cluster of a few hundred stars in the constellation Taurus; six of the stars are easily visible to the naked eye.
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