Interesting Facts: History and Mythology
1. Symbolism: Seven Sisters, Sailing Queen
2. Right ascension: 3 hours 47 minutes
3. Declination: +24 degrees
4. Latitudes visible at: Between +90 degrees and -65 degrees
5. The best time to view: The star cluster is best viewed when they reach their highest point in the sky, midway between rising and setting around 4 AM in September, midnight in November and 8 PM in January.
6. Area of sky: It appears in the constellation of Taurus. (Hyades also appears in this constellation.)
7. Nearest star: The cluster is about 440 light-years from Earth.
8. Meteor showers: A meteor shower located near Messier 45 is called the Taurids. This meteor shower is visible from November 3 - 13 and has showers that are low in numbers, but produce some bright and slow moving meteors.
9. Mythology: The Pleiades are rich in mythology. They are the companions of Artemis and are the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione. They are the sisters of Calypso, Hyas, the Hyades and the Hesperides. Several prominent Olympian gods were engaged in affairs with the sisters. According to the Greek mythology, only six of the stars shine brightly in the star cluster because the seventh, Merope, is shamed for eternity for having an affair with a mortal and hence her shine is dull. Other myths say that the seventh star, which doesn't shine as brightly, is Electra. She is said to have left her place so that she will not have to look down on the ruin of Troy, which was founded by her son Dardanus. Also, some myths mention Orion to be always in pursuit of the open cluster in the night sky.
10. Historical importance: On March 4, 1769, Charles Messier included this open cluster as No. 45 in his first list of nebulae and star clusters. The Messier 45 has been mentioned throughout history. It is among a few objects that have been known since the earliest times. The earliest known references to the star cluster are in Homer's "Odyssey" and they were also mentioned by Hesiod in about 700 B.C. They were connected to agriculture back then. The Bible also makes references to the star cluster three times.
11. The Seven Sisters: The names of the Seven Sisters are Alcyone, Electra, Maia, Merope, Taygeta, Celaeno, Sterope. Along with the seven sisters are the mother and father. The mother's called Pleione and the father Atlas.