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The Pleiades, as well as the Hyades, are part of the constellation Taurus the Bull.
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(c) 1995 Visual Language. All rights reserved.

The Pleiades

In Greek mythology, the Pleiades were seven sisters. Their names were Maia, Electra, Alcyone, Taygete, Asterope, Celaeno, and Merope. Their parents were the Titan Atlas and the Oceanid, Pleione. One day while traveling, the Pleiades and their mother met the giant hunter Orion.

He fell in love with the young women and started to pursue them. After being chased for years, Zeus changed them into doves to help them escape. They flew into the sky to become the cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus the Bull.

However, only six stars are visible in the sky without a telescope. The ancient Greeks explained the absence of a seventh star with several different stories. According to one story, all the Pleiades consorted with gods except Merope. Merope deserted her sisters because she was ashamed of having a mortal husband, Sisyphus.

Another explanation is related to the myth of the Pleiad Electra who is considered the ancestress of the royal house of Troy. The Greeks believed that Electra abandoned her sisters in despair and transformed herself into a comet when the city of Troy was destroyed. These legends seem to be confirmed by a scientific finding according to which a seventh star in the group of the Pleiades became extinct toward the end of the second millennium BC.

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