June 23, 2010
The Seven Sisters, also known as the Pleiades, shine like a cluster of diamonds in this Hubble image (infrared image below is from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope). Clouds of dust sweep around the stars, swaddling them in a cushiony veil.
The Pleiades, located more than 400 light-years away in the Taurus constellation, were born when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, about 100 million years ago, significantly younger than our 5-billion-year-old sun. The brightest members of the cluster, also the highest-mass stars, are known in Greek mythology as two parents, Atlas and Pleione, and their seven daughters.
During the period from around April 10 to 13, the Pleiades "glittering...tangled in a silver braid" can be seen just above Venus. On April 19, the crescent moon will join the party, sliding between Venus and the Pleiades for a special viewing.