48.1 MB (3.6 MB compressed)
4935 x 3404 pixels
41.7 x 28.7 cm ⏐ 16.4 x 11.3 in (300dpi)
FRED ESPENAK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRED ESPENAK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour optical image of the Pleiades (M45), a cluster of stars 400 light years away in the constellation of Taurus. The cluster is also known as the Seven Sisters, although most people can see only the six brightest stars with the naked eye. There has been speculation that the seventh "lost" Pleiad has faded since ancient times. The cluster in fact has three to five hundred members, most of which are contained within a sphere 30 light years across. The brightest stars are all embedded within a streaky nebulosity which appears purple in this image. This is caused by cold gas and dust reflecting the light of the young, blue stars nearby.
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