Astro Biz: Subaru

Many businesses, products, and places have names rooted in space and astronomy. We’re featuring one every Tuesday on Seattle Astronomy.

IMG_1502Today’s Astro Biz is the Subaru. It’s not only a line of Japanese-made motor vehicles, but also the Japanese name for the open star cluster many of us know as the Pleiades, The Seven Sisters, or M45.

The Pleiades is among the nearest star clusters to Earth and it’s one of the most easily visible, as the seven daughters of Atlas are pursued by the hunter Orion across the evening sky.

There are a couple of levels of meaning in the Subaru logo. The six stars are the number in the cluster visible to the naked eye; two of the sisters are so close together that they appear as one. In Japanese, the word Subaru means “unite,” and in the logo the large star represents Fuji Heavy Industries, and the others the five smaller companies that merged to form the conglomerate.

The Pleiades are well placed for observing these days; they’re already high in the east at dusk and reach their highest point in the south a bit after 10 p.m. PST.

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Astro Biz index