The stars of the Pleiades cluster, also known by the names "M45" and "the Seven Sisters," shine brightly in this view from the Cassini spacecraft. The cluster is comprised of hundreds of stars, a few of which are visible to the unaided eye on Earth as a brilliant grouping in the constellation Taurus.
Some faint nebulous material is seen here. This reflection nebula is dust that reflects the light of the hot, blue stars in the cluster.
The monochrome view was made by combining 49 clear filter images of the Pleiades taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 1, 2006. The images were taken as a part of a sequence designed to help calibrate the camera electronics.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.