Today we focus on the world of astronomy to describe a well-known group of stars that is dedicated to our planet. It's about the pleiades. It is an open cluster of stars close to planet Earth and is known as the 7 Cosmic Sisters and it is a pre-Hispanic man known by the seven whitecaps. It is a fairly easy to identify open cluster in the night sky since it is remarkably close to Earth. It can be seen in the northern hemisphere in the constellation of Taurus at a distance of about 450 light years.
In this article we are going to tell you all the characteristics, origin and mythology of the Pleiades.
It is a relatively young star cluster since the stars are only about 20 million years old. In the open cluster we can find around 500-1000 stars with hot spectral type B characteristics all located in the constellation of Taurus. We are going to describe the main types of stars that we can find in the pleiades and their brightness:
- Alcyone: It is the brightest star of all those belonging to the Pleiades and is located at a distance of about 440 light years from our planet. Its apparent magnitude is +2.85 and it is a star almost 1000 times more luminous than the sun, being about 10 times bigger.
- Atlas: it is the second brightest star in the Pleiades cluster and is located at a distance of 440 light years, like Alcyone. It has an apparent magnitude of +3.62.
- Electra: It is the third star if we order it by brightness level and it is also located at the same distance and from the other two. Its apparent magnitude is +3.72.
- Maya: it is one of the stars that has a bluish-white color and is located at a distance of about 440 light years with an apparent magnitude of +3.87.
- Merope: In order of brightness it is the fifth and it is a subgiant star that has a bluish-white color with an apparent magnitude of +4.14, located more or less at the same distance between the rest.
- Taygeta: it is a binary star that has an apparent magnitude of +4.29 and is somewhat closer to the solar system, being at a distance of 422 light years.
- Pleione: it is a star that is at a similar distance to the rest and is about 190 times more luminous than the sun. It has a radius 3.2 times larger and its rotation speed is about 100 times faster than the sun.
- Celaeno: It is a subgiant binary star with a bluish-white color. Its apparent magnitude is +5.45 and it is located at a distance of 440 light years.
Mythology of the Pleiades
As you might expect, most of the constellations in the sky have their mythology. There are various mythologies about the Pleiades that speak of their existence in the celestial space. One of these mythological stories is where the Pleiades mean doves and the seven sisters are said to be the ideas of the oceanid Pleione and Atlas. The sisters were Maya, Electra, Taigete, Asterope, Merope, Alcíone and Celaeno, they were turned into stars by the God Zeus, as a way to protect them from Orion who was pursuing themIt is even said that to this day Orion chases the sisters in the night sky.
Legend also has it that various Olympian gods such as Zeus, Poseidon and Ares were seduced by the attractiveness of these sisters and bore fruit in relationships. Maya, had a son with Zeus, and they gave him by name Hermes, Celeno had Lico, Nicteo and Eufemo with Poseidon, Alcíone also gave a son to Poseidon, which they named Hirieo, Electra had two sons with Zeus whom he called Dárdano and Yasión, Sterope begot Oenomaus with Ares, Táigete had Lacedemon with Zeus; being only Merope the only one of the Pleiadian sisters who did not maintain relations with the GodsOn the contrary, he only had relations with a mortal, Sisyphus.
Another part of the mythology tells that the Pleiadian sisters decided to take their own lives as they felt very depressed with everything that happened with their father Atlas and the loss of their Sisters the Hyades. When he was going to commit suicide, Zeus decided to give them immortality and He placed them in the sky so that he could turn them into stars. Hence the mythology of this grouping of stars in the sky is born.
Observation of the Pleiades
As we have mentioned before, the Pleiades are quite close to our planet, so it is very easy to see in the sky. It is a considered cluster of stars with an easy location. Its main stars are brighter and can be easily seen. You have to take into account the reference to locate the star cluster and it is to use the constellation guide of Taurus so that the pleiades are easy to recognize, since it is inside.
Usually only 6 stars can be identified with the naked eye, but if the night is clear, more can be identified. To locate the pleiades well, you can use Orion as another guide. It is one of the most popular constellations and serves as an orientation to reach this cluster of stars. They are located above Orion, crossing the constellation of Taurus and are a group of bluish stars.
The most beautiful part of the stars known as the highest point you are during the month of November. It is when it can be seen most beautifully. If viewed through the professional telescope it can be clearly distinguished that they are surrounded by a material with a blue color in which the light of the stars is reflected and surrounded by a nebula.
This cluster of stars is quite interesting for the study of modern astronomy, which is why today they are still part of astronomical investigations that revolve around the life expectancy and what is the future of these beautiful stars.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about what the Pleiades are and what their characteristics are.