M 45 (Pleiades, Matariki)

The Pleiades is an open star cluster in the constellation Taurus. It is one of the closest star clusters to Earth and is easily visible from around the globe.

The Pleiades (M45)
Credit: NASA, ESA and AURA/Caltech

Facts About M 45 (Pleiades, Matariki):

  • One of the nearest star clusters.
  • One of the oldest-recognised and culturally significant groups of stars.
  • Up to 14 stars are visible to the naked eye. The clusters contains over 1000 stars in total, including many brown dwarfs.
  • The cluster core is between 16 - 30 ly wide.
  • Dominated by hot, bright, blue stars that have formed within the last 100 million years.
  • Being so close to use makes this very important to astronomy. Many assumptions about the wider Universe are based on measurements of Pleiades.
  • Nebolisity is due to an interstellar dust cloud that the stars are currently passing through.
  • Thousands of years in the future it will pass below the feet of Orion.
  • The cluster should survive for about another 250 million years, after which it will disperse due to gravitational interactions with its galactic neighborhood.
Classification: Open Cluster
Names:  Pleiades, Matariki, Seven Sisters, Subaru, Melotte 22
Constellation:  Taurus
Distance:  4.07e+15 km (430 ly)
Magnitude:  1.6000 (app)
Pleiades Map
Credit: NASA, ESA, AURA/Caltech, Palomar Observatory