M45. The Pleiades. Subaru. The Seven Sisters. Since antiquity, this open cluster has been admired from China to Australia to Europe. According to Greek mythology, the Pleiades were the seven daughters of Pleione, a sea-nymph, and Atlas, the titan who holds up the sky. Relentlessly pursued by Orion the Hunter, Zeus took pity on the beautiful sisters and immortalized them in the stars, sparing them from Orion (who still chases them in the night sky as a constellation of his own). In reality, the Pleiades star cluster contains thousands of stars, many of which burn blue and hot due to their relative youth. On a clear December evening, look to the south to spot the sisters.
By Carl Crum ’24