I would like to find out more about the legend and the astronomical history
of the Pleiades. How far away are they? How many stars are there totally?
I can tell you a little off the top of my head: Pleiades is Greek 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 Pleiades, and, indeed, if you look at the Suburu
emblem on one of their cars you will 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 she 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 them-
selves, 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 old).
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Update: June 2012