RUSSELL CROMAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSSELL CROMAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pleiades star cluster (M45), optical image. This is a nearby cluster of around 500 stars, several of which are visible to the naked eye. The cluster has a diameter of around 12 light years, and lies some 440 light years from Earth in the constellation Taurus. The stars are very young, just over 100 million years old. It was formerly thought that the blue reflection nebula surrounding the stars was the remnants of the gas from which the stars formed. Recent measurements have shown that the cluster is simply passing through the dust cloud by chance, which glows by reflecting the light of the stars.
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