A loose, irregular grouping of stars that originated from a single nebula in the arms of a spiral galaxy. Compared to globular clusters, open clusters generally contain younger and fewer (from a hundred to several thousand) stars and are confined to the disk of the galaxy. Because they are young, open clusters are sometimes still surrounded by the leftover gas and dust from which they formed. Visible from Earth with just a pair of binoculars and containing over 3,000 stars, the Pleiades is the best known open cluster. Also called galactic cluster. Compare globular cluster.