Eyes on Sunday's Sky

Mar 30

Written by:
3/30/2012 4:13 PM  RssIcon

On Sunday, April 1 2012, Venus will make a close approach to one of the best open clusters in the night sky, the Pleiades.  This is should make for a truly stunning view in most any set of binoculars, as the planet is the third brightest object in the night sky (after the Sun and Moon), and the Pleiades shine in a fairly compact area of sky themselves, about 1.5 degrees or so of sky.  Binoculars therefore are the perfect instrument to use to see this conjunction, which is to wide to see in most telescopes.  Check it out this weekend (and into early next week as well).

Venus near the Pleiades star cluster; April 1, 2012

The beauty of this conjunction is that it helps point the way towards another bright object and open cluster.  Look for Aldebaran - the brightest star in Taurus the Bull - which happens to reside in our line-of-sight to the Hyades star cluster.  (In the graphic above, the Hyades are located where "Taurus" is listed on the star chart.)  This is another superb binocular pairing, thought these ones are visible anytime the Bull happens to be in the night-time sky.  

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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.