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Pleiades

Pleiades is an open cluster in the constellation of Taurus also known as Messier 45, or just M 45. This relatively nearby cluster is also known as the Seven Sisters although from cities only the five or six brightest stars are visible and from a dark site, ten or more are visible.

In Japan, the Pleiades are known as Subaru.

It is said that the Native Americans measured keenness of vision by the number of stars the viewer could see in the Pleiades.

To the Maori of New Zealand, the Pleiades are called Mataariki and their heliacal rising signifies the beginning of the new year (around June).

The Australian Aborigines believed they were a woman who had been nearly raped by Kidili, the man in the moon. Alternatively, they were seven sisters called the Makara.

In Greek mythology, the Seven Sisters were traditionally identified as:

  1. Asterope
  2. Dryope or Merope or Aero
  3. Electra
  4. Maia
  5. Taygete
  6. Celaeno
  7. Alcyone

They were mountain-nymphs (Oreads), the daughters of Atlas and Pleione, who are also represented by stars in the cluster; the granddaughters of Iapetus and Clymene, and the sisters of the Hyades, Calypso, and Dione. They committed suicide after the deaths of their sisters, the Hyades.

Alternatively, they were known as the Atlantides.



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