Matariki is the Maori language name for the cluster of stars known as the Pleiades (Messier 45), an open star cluster in the constellation of Taurus. It is one of the nearest star clusters to Earth and is obvious to the naked eye in the night sky, a prominent sight in winter. The ten brightest stars of the Pleiades are named after the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology – Sterope, Merope, Electra, Maia, Taygeta, Celaeno, and Alcyone – and their parents Atlas and Pleione. (Sterope is a double star.)
The image features Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain, and an excerpt from “Sidereus Nuncius” (Starry Messenger or Message) by Galileo Galilei, a scientific treatise based on astronomical observations he made using a telescope.