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Pleiades (M45) Facts

Pleiades (M45) Facts Open Cluster in Taurus

Pleiades (M45) is an open cluster object of interest in space. It lies at a distance of 0.39-0.46 kilo light years away in the constellation of Taurus.

It is referred to as M(45) when it was catalogued by Charles Messier in 18th - 19th Century France.

The Open Cluster's location is 03:47.0 (R.A.) and +24:07 (Dec.). Its Visual (Apparent) Brightness is 2.00 Magnitude with an apparent dimension of 111.0 . The object can be seen with the naked eye, that is, you don't need a telescope/binoculars to see it.

The Pleiades are a star cluster that can be found in the constellation of Taurus. They are one of the most well known star clusters that we know about. Another star cluster also in the constellation of Taurus is the Hyades. It is naked eye visible, although you won't probably be able to see it clearly. It was first observed by the Grecian astronomer Hesiod 1000 Years B.C.

The Pleiades are said to be the seven daughters of the Greek God, Atlas who were transformed into stars to comfort him as he held up the stars and galaxies in place within the Universe. The seven daughters are in no particular order, Asterope, Taygeta, Maia, Celaeno, Electra, Alcyone, Merope. Pleione and is the mother of the Seven Sisters.

They are amongst the youngest stars in the galaxy. If you travelled back into the past to the time of the dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals, you wouldn't see them because they weren't created back then.

When best to view the Pleiades

The Pleiades are visible without any visual aids but to make them out, you will need to use some form of visual aids such binoculars or a telescope. The easiest way to find them is to locate Orion which is the easiest constellation to spot in the night sky.

Northern Hemisphere

In the Northern Hemisphere, the constellation is best seen in the winter months when Taurus appears high in the sky in January and Februrary. As mentioned earlier, find Orion then look upwards in a southerly direction, you shoud then see Taurus. Look for a fuzzy area of stars and that should be the pleiades.

Southern Hemisphere

The first three months of the year and December should be the best time in which to see the Pleiades. Taurus is in a northerly direction and is low on the horizon. The more north in the southern hemisphere, the better to see them.

Stars in the Pleiades

The following are a list of the most prominent stars in the Pleiades.

Location of the Pleiades in Constellation of Taurus

Image showing the location of the Pleiades Star Cluster in Taurus

Image was generated using Night Vision, a free application to download by Brian Simpson

Fact File

NamePleiades (M45)
TypeOpen Cluster
Messier Id45
Right Ascension03:47.0
Distance (Lt.Yr)0.39-0.46 kilo
Apparent Dimension111.0
Visual / Apparent Magnitude2.00
Naked Eye VisibleYes - Magnitudes
Year of Discovery1000 Years B.C.

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