RUSSELL CROMAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSSELL CROMAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Merope star and associated nebulosity. Merope (23 Tauri) is one of the stars in the Pleiades open star cluster (M45). Unusually for a nebula, the gas and dust is not associated with the young stars, instead the cluster just happens to be passing through an unrelated cloud. The nebula appears blue as blue light is scattered more efficiently than other wavelengths. The nebula surrounding the star is called NGC 1435, and the part at left is IC 349. Merope, like the rest of the Pleiades cluster, lies around 440 light years from Earth in the constellation Taurus.
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