The Pleiades, as well as the Hyades, are part of the constellation Taurus the Bull.
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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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