- Pleiades (M45) -
The "Seven Sisters" of mythology located in the constellation Taurus (the bull).
This open cluster consists of 7 stars visible to the naked eye. The actual cluster
contains several hundred stars. The Pleiades is an excellent target for the backyard
astronomer equipped with either a good pair of binoculars or a small telescope.
The Pleiades is sometimes referred to as Messier 45 (or M45), the 45th entry on
a list compiled by Charles Messier in the 18th century of objects that could be
seen in the night sky that were resolved with a state-of-the-art telescope and
therefore appeared fuzzy. Messier, a comet-hunter, made the list so he would not
confuse these objects with new comets. Pleiades is about 380 light years from
earth and about 100 x 106 or 100 million years old.