The Pleiades

PleiadesIn Greek mythology the Pleiades were seven sisters who were the daughters of the titan Atlas. After Atlas was forced to carry the heavens on his shoulders, Orion began to pursue all of the Pleiades, and Zeus transformed them first into doves and then into stars to comfort their father. The constellation of Orion is said to still pursue them across the night sky.

The Pleiades is an open cluster of stars that is prominent in the winter sky and one of my favorite objects for naked-eye viewing. When I was a kid, I could see at least a dozen or so stars in the cluster in a dark sky. My elderly eyes still do almost as well.

Image Credit: NASA ESA AURA Caltech

4 thoughts on “The Pleiades

  1. Odd little trivia: in Japan, the Pleiades are named “Subaru” and a stylized image of the constellation is the symbol of the Subaru corporation.

  2. My favorite constellation. Locally they are on the margin of visibility to the naked eye vs. background light. I also love the mythology of the little sisters.

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