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Open cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus, about 400 light-years from Earth. It contains a large amount of bright nebulous material and several hundred stars, of which six or seven can be seen by the unaided eye and have figured prominently in the myths and literature of many cultures. In the Northern Hemisphere, the rising of the Pleiades near dawn in spring has from ancient times marked the opening, and their morning setting in autumn the end, of seafaring and farming seasons.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Pleiades, visit Britannica.com.