Date: 1993 - 1999
I would like to find out more about the
legend and the astronomical history of the Plejades. How far
away are they? How many stars are there totally?
I can tell you a little off the top of my head:
Pleides is Greek for ? and are also known as the seven
sisters (because there are 7 stars you can see on a good
clear night) from a story in Greek mythology. Different
cultures have different myths and legends about the
constellations. Suburu is the Japanese name for the Pleides,
and, indeed, if you look at the Suburu emblem on one of their
cars you'll see seven stars!
In Greek mythology, the Pleiades were daughters of Atlas and the
nymph Pleione, and were companions of the goddess Artemis. They were pursued, so
one story goes, by the hunter Orion, and were changed into doves to escape him,
and then were transformed into stars and placed in the sky. And now when we look up at the Pleiades
we see the constellation Orion in eternal pursuit. There are only 6 stars in
this cluster that are considered bright enough to see with the naked eye; this
supposedly gave rise to the legends of the "lost sister" Merope (one says that s he hides out of
shame because she alone of the Sisters married a mortal, Sisyphus). The other
names are Electra, Taygeta, Celaeno, Maia, Alcyone, and Asterope.
The stars themselves, which actually are hundreds in number, form an
open cluster that is about 127 parsecs, or about 415 light-years, away.
Most of them are very hot blue stars and are quite young (around 100
million years old) as compared with our Sun (about 4.5 billion years
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Update: June 2012