Merope (23 Tauri)
A subgiant B star in the constellation Taurus
that is the fifth brightest star in the Pleiades.
Like some other members in the cluster, Merope is a Be
star, its rapid rotation (with an equatorial speed at least 140 times
that of the Sun) flinging out a disk of bright, emitting gas (though Merope's
disk is quite thin compared with others such as that of Pleione).
Merope's greatest claim to fame, however, is not the star itself, but its
surroundings: the reflection nebulosity for which the Pleiades is well known
is so bright around Merope as to have its own names, the Merope
Nebula and IC 349.
|Merope. Three-color composite image obtained with
the Burrell Schmidt telescope of Case Western Reserve University's
Warner and Swasey Observatory
||440 light-years (135 pc)
||R.A. 03h 46m 19.6s,
Dec. +23° 56' 54"
||V971 Tauri, HR 1156,
HD 23480, BD+23 522, HIP 17608,
SAO 76172, GC 4512, BDS 1858,