51.2 MB (1.7 MB compressed)
4674 x 3827 pixels
39.6 x 32.5 cm ⏐ 15.6 x 12.8 in (300dpi)
NOAO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NOAO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Optical photo of the Pleiades (M45 & NGC 1432), a cluster of stars some 400 light years away in the constellation of Taurus. The brightest stars are embedded within streaky reflection nebulae (wisps of cold gas & dust which reflect the light of the young stars). 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 300 to 500 members, most of which are contained within a sphere 30 light years across.
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