A stellar phenomenon in the Alpha Quadrant, on the edge of explored space. Also known as Melotte 20 or Collinder 39, the Alpha Persei Cluster is an open cluster of stars in the constellation Perseus. To the naked eye, it consists of several stars of spectral type B, along with the most massive member - the F5 supergiant Alpha Persei. The brightest members include Delta, Epsilon, Psi, 29, 30, 34 and 48 Persei.
The cluster was formed over thirty million years ago in a massive burst of star formation, which compressed the surrounding interstellar medium. This triggered further star formation elsewhere; a chain reaction that created much of the modern geography of the central Orion Arm. The Pleiades, the Orion Nebula, the Gum Nebula, and the Antares Maelstrom all owe their existance to the original burst of activity at Alpha Persei. Further, as those waves of star formation swept through the region, they caused ecological catastrophes on many worlds, wiping out species and paving the way for new ones to evolve. Not long after the wave passed near Earth, the first hominids developed; and the same is true for the ancestors of Vulcans, Andorians, Klingons, and others.
Despite this impressive history, no great interstellar power currently claims the region, and no major natural cataclysms are expected until Mirfak (the yellow-white supergiant at the cluster’s heart), goes supernova in a few million years.
The most recent event of note in the cluster was a Starfleet rendezvous in 2363. Captain Jean-Luc Picard assembled a task force at Mirfak prior to advancing on the Carnelian Regnancy.