Evans, Nancy Remage Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Pitts, Ronald Formerly, Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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A typical open cluster of stars (see illustration), and the best example in the sky of an open cluster for the casual observer. (Open clusters are one of the two basic morphological types of star clusters, distinguished from globular clusters by their smaller total populations and central densities, and by their shapes, which are often elongated or amorphous.) Besides being a focus of astronomical research in the present era, the Pleiades has been considered important since ancient times in various cultures, including ancient civilizations of pre-Columbian Mexico, Greece, Persia, India, and China. See also: Star clusters
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