Did you know that star clusters like the Pleiades will eventually dissolve into the galaxy?
The Pleiades star cluster (click to enlarge WARNING large image: 2MB)

The Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters, is an open cluster of young stars. Vast swirls of dust and gas, backlit by the bright young stars, are the leftover materials of star formation. Eventually the dust and gas disperses, and the hot, bright, but short-lived stars in the region die off in spectacular supernova explosions. The region will then look much like any other piece of galaxy. The Seven Sisters are nearing the ends of their lives, so the Pleiades will not survive as a cluster much longer. In a few million years, and after some impressive fireworks, it will hardly be noticeable in the night sky. For more on the Pleiades click here.

Return to the Astronomy Workshop