ROBERT GENDLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROBERT GENDLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Merope star (23 Tauri), optical image. Merope is part of the Pleiades star cluster, a group of around 500 young stars that all formed from the same gas and dust cloud. The Pleiades are thought to have formed between 75 and 150 million years ago. Merope is surrounded by a blue reflection nebula. This cloud of gas and dust does not produce its own light, but instead reflects the light of Merope itself. It was formerly thought that the nebulosity surrounding the Pleiades was the remnants of the gas cloud from which they formed, but recent observations have concluded that the cluster is passing through the cloud by chance. Merope lies around 440 light years away in the constellation Taurus.
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