The Cycles of the Pleiades Star Cluster

the great and burning star,
Immeasurably old, immeasurably far,
Surging forth its silver flame
Through eternity…

The Pleiades star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters and Messier 45. The cluster contains hundreds of stars, of which only a handful are commonly visible to the unaided eye. The stars in the Pleiades are thought to have formed together around 100 million years ago, making them 1/50th the age of our sun, and they lie some 130 parsecs i.e. 425 light years away.

The Pleiades is a name given to a cluster of stars in the shoulder area of the constellation of Taurus, the Bull. Six of the many hundreds of stars in this cluster are easily seen with the naked eye. A seventh star, that is invisible or hidden, is often included when reference is made to the stars of the Pleiades. These stars have been recognized and celebrated in nearly every culture that has lived on the Earth.

For northern hemisphere, the cluster is above and to the right of Orion the Hunter.
In Ancient Mythology

In India it was the junction star of the nakshatras Krittika and Rohini, and Amba, the Goddess Mother. In Hindu literature it was Arundhati, wedded to Vashishtha, the chief of the Seven Sages, as her sisters were to the six other Rishis of Ursa Major.
Alcyone represents in the sky the Atlantid nymph who became the mother of Hyrieus by Poseidon; now the Light of the Pleiades. The early Arabs called it Al Jauz, the Walnut; Al Jauzah the Central One; and Al Na’ir, the Bright One.

The Seven Sisters in Greek myths, are the daughters of Atlas, the giant who supported the world on his shoulders, and Pleione.

Zeus first transformed the sisters into doves, and then into stars to enable them to escape the attention of Orion, who for seven long years pursued the maidens, and Pleione, to claim them for himself.

The sisters are Alcyone, Merope, Celaeno, Taygeta, Maia, Electra, and Asterope. According to one legend, only six of the stars can be seen because Merope hid herself in shame over marrying a mortal.

The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Hindus recorded seven stars. It is thought that the seven chambers of the Great Pyramid represented the seven stars of the Pleiades..


3 Responses to “The Cycles of the Pleiades Star Cluster”

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