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The Question

(Submitted January 27, 1998)

Where are the Pleiades located in the sky and the myths that go along with their formation?

The Answer

The Pleiades are a group of bright white stars that are in the constellation of Taurus. You can find them by following the belt of Orion through a reddish star called Aldebaran. To help find Orion and other constellations see:


Sky & Telescope gives maps of the sky for each month:

As for myths, I know that in Greek mythology the Pleiades are the seven sisters who are pursued by Orion. Also in Hindu mythology they are the wives of the seven sages. Either because of their bright white color or some cross-talk between different cultures they have acquired a female set of myths.

Stepping outside the classical mythology, there are loads of stories about the Pleiades! For instance, the following is from the Monache Indians in central California. A group of women who love onions more than their husbands enter the sky to become the Pleiades. Their husbands pursue them and become the constellation Taurus. One source for Native American stories about the Pleiades is the book, "They Dance in the Sky" by Jean Monroe and Ray Williamson. Once again it is interesting that these stars are connected with women.


Jeff Silvis and Jim Lochner
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