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q Tauri, 19 Tauri

A blue-white star falling within the western reaches of the famous Pleiades cluster, Taygeta is the sixth brightest of the stars in the cluster, and the faintest of the Pleiades that most observers can discern with the naked eye. The name Taygeta comes from Greek mythology, as the name of a daughter of Atlas and Pleione who became the mother of Lacedæmon, the founder of Sparta.

Like the other stars that make up the Pleiades, Taygeta is a young star of the B-type or blue classification, lying more than 400 light years from the Sun. Taygeta is in fact a binary system, with two subgiants (each several times more massive than the Sun) following a close mutual orbit less than 5 AU apart. These two massive stars probably form the heart of a ternary system, with a third dwarf star travelling a millennia-long orbit thousands of AU distant from the main pair, though the status of this dwarf star (designated Taygeta B) as part of the system is not established with certainty.


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