Wednesday and Thursday evenings March 21st and 22nd the waxing crescent Moon will pass across the constellation of Taurus the Bull. It will first be several degrees from the open star cluster the Pleiades and then the next day the Moon will be within 1-2o from the reddish star Aldebaran and the open star cluster the Hyades. The latter should prove to be a striking sight through binoculars.
Friday evening February 23rd the 8-day old waxing gibbous Moon will be about 6o from the reddish star Aldebaran, part of the open star cluster the Hyades. The brighter stars of the Hyades are arranged in a v-shape that is used to represent the face of Taurus the Bull. The point of the V is the Bull’s nose and the reddish star Aldebaran is one of the Bull’s eyes, often depicted as the ‘angry eye’ of the Bull.
Tuesday September 12th the 18-day old waning gibbous Moon will be once again poking Taurus the Bull in the eye! Actually the Moon will be within about 0.5o from the reddish star Aldebaran, the ‘angry eye’ of Taurus.
some extra Bob’s Space
With binoculars the view of the Moon this close to Aldebaran and the rest of the v-shaped group of stars making up the open star cluster the Hyades should be as good as this graphic shows. But minus the blue lines!
Thursday July 13th morning in the couple of hours before sunrise local time the inner planet Venus will be within about 3o from the reddish star Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull. Aldebaran is often described as the “red, angry eye” of Taurus. It is located at the end of the v-shaped open star cluster the Hyades, a ‘loose’ grouping of several hundred stars of which the brightest form the v-shape of the Bull’s face.
On the 13th Venus becomes the other eye of the Bull. The apparent brightness or magnitude difference between Venus (-4.07) and Aldebaran (0.84) is quite striking.
Over the next few days Venus will steadily move away, toward the east, from Aldebaran as this animated graphic is showing. It is a simulated view through 10×50 binoculars and runs from July 12th to July 17th.
Friday evening March 31st the 4-day old waxing crescent Moon will be about 4o from the reddish star Aldebaran in the open star cluster The Hyades. This open star cluster has a noticeable v-shape and from mythology the v-shape is the face of Taurus the Bull. Over the course of several hours as the Moon continues moving eastward along its orbit the Moon will pass across the v-shape and will be less than one-half degree from Aldebaran.
From my longitude this part of the sky will have set but observers in parts of north Africa, India, and that part of the world may be able to see an occultation of Aldebaran by the Moon. This animated graphic shows the Moon’s motion from 9 pm CDT 31 March to 5 am CDT 1 April (2 UT 1 April to 9 UT 1 April).
The point of the v-shape is the bull’s nose while the two stars at the open end, Aldebaran and Epsilon Taurus mark the bull’s eyes. To the right, west, from the Moon is another open star cluster The Pleiades.
Tuesday night and Wednesday morning October 18th and 19th the 18-day old waning gibbous Moon will be close to the eye of Taurus the Bull, the reddish star Aldebaran. From other locations the Moon will pass in front, occult, Aldebaran. The path for seeing the occultation stretches from Central America, Mexico, parts of eastern U.S.A., eastern Canada and then curves south toward northwestern Africa. The occultation is calculated to begin at 7 UT on Wednesday October 19th.
Through binoculars the Moon, Aldebaran, and the stars making up the v-shaped face of Taurus, the Hyades, should all fit comfortably within the 7o field of view of 7×50 binoculars.
Over the next couple of nights or early mornings the waning gibbous Moon will pass across the stars of the Hyades, a v-shaped open star cluster that makes up the face of Taurus the Bull. Depending on your geographical location you may see the Moon either pass very closely to the reddish star Aldebaran.
From parts of Eastern Africa, Middle East, and South Asia the waning Gibbous Moon will be within 0.2o from Aldebaran.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to go to bobs-spaces.