Merope (23 Tauri)


Merope. Three-color composite image obtained with the Burrell Schmidt telescope of Case Western Reserve University's Warner and Swasey Observatory.

Merope (23 Tauri) is 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.


visual magnitude 4.14
absolute magnitude -1.07
spectral type B6IVe
surface temperature 14,000 K
luminosity 630 Lsun
radius 4.3 Rsun
mass 4 Msun
distance 440 light-years (135 pc)
position R.A. 03h 46m 19.6s,
Dec. +23° 56' 54"
other designations V971 Tauri, HR 1156,
HD 23480, BD+23 522, HIP 17608,
SAO 76172, GC 4512, BDS 1858,
CCDM 03463+2357