Galaxy Story

A 3-D Tour of Our Galaxy

Page 1 of 3


The Pleiades cluster lies at a distance of about 375 light years and is around 100 million years old. This is very young as far as star ages are concerned. Our Earth is much older, with an estimated age of 4 500 million years. The Pleiades belongs to the zodiacal constellation Taurus. It contains a large amount of dust and several hundred stars, of which only 6 or 7 are visible to the naked eye.

In Greek mythology, the Pleiades were 7 sisters (Alcyone, Maia, Electra, Merope, Taygete, Celaeno, and Sterope), daughters of Atlas and Pleione. The great hunter Orion was in love with the young women and pursued them for many years. Zeus eventually converted them into doves to help them escape, and they flew into the sky forming a cluster of stars.

How to view the 3-D image:
The pair of images above represents a star field of about 6 by 6 degrees. To see the cluster in three dimensions use the following "fused, free-eye imaging" method. View the page from a distance of about 30-50 cm. Focus on the images, but relax the eyes so that they converge at infinity (imagine that you are staring through the screen at a distant point, so that the left eye observes and focuses on the left image, while the right eye focuses on the right image). Fix on a particular object until the depth effect appears: when it does, the results are dramatic. For best results, when printed, each image should be about 5.5 cm in width, and the image pair should be separated by approximately 0.5 cm.


ESA Science Home page