Pleiades star cluster is a bit farther away than thought

The Pleiades, seen in an image taken at Palomar Observatory, is a brilliant cluster of young stars easily seen by the naked eye in the constellation Taurus.


Guest post by Christopher Crockett

The Pleiades, a cluster of young stars in the constellation Taurus, is 444 light-years away, astronomers report in the Aug. 29 Science. New radio telescope observations confirm what many have long suspected: the previous distance determined by the European Space Agency satellite Hipparcos was about 10 percent too close.

The new measurements resolve one debate but start another: what went wrong before? The answer could be crucial for the recently launched Gaia satellite, which in August started its five-year mission to create a three-dimensional map of nearly 1 billion stars in the galaxy. 

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