Taurus Gets An Eyeful!

   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.

Venus passing Aldebaran July 12th-17th   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.

   
   
   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Taurus Takes It On The Chin!


   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.
   
   
   
click on animated graphic to see it larger
   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.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Moon in the Bull’s Eye

   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.
moon near aldebaran
   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.

   
   
   
   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Moon Passes the Hyades

   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.

Moon Near Aldebaran

Thursday morning August 25th watch for the last quarter Moon to be either close to the star Aldebaran or occulting Aldebaran – depending on your location. This occultation will be visible from around Hawaii across the Pacific Ocean toward the southern United States of America and Estados Unidos de Mexico.
   Aldebaran is the reddish and brightest star in the constellation of Taurus the Bull and from mythology Aldebaran represents the angry eye of the bull. Aldebaran is also part of the v-shaped group of stars forming the face of the bull, and this group of stars, the Hyades, is also an open star cluster – a group of stars clustered together by their respective gravitational forces. The Pleiades, looking like a small dipper, is another nearby open star cluster and part of the Taurus constellation.

   
   
   

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.

Moon Eyes Taurus

moon=in-eye
   Sunday evening April 10th the 3.5-day young waxing crescent Moon will be either very close to the reddish-orange star Aldebaran, the ‘eye of the Bull’, or the Moon will be occulting Aldebaran. This is sort of like a total solar eclipse in that if you are not at the right viewing location then you will not see a total solar eclipse, just a partial. So depending on your location (latitude and longitude) you may be where you will be able to see the Moon occult Aldebaran. On the other hand the Moon will occult several other stars in the Hyadeas, the open star cluster that makes up the v-shaped face of the bull.

   To learn more about when to view occultations, eclipses, and transits download the Freeware program Occult 4.
   For maps of lunar occultations go to the Grazing Occultation Events in North America web site.

   
   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Perseids: The Peak Night

   This morning I was set up and the camera was clicking away by about 3 am CDT. Once again I had the camera set to Burst mode taking 10-second exposures with the ISO 1600; F 4.0. The skies were very clear and the humidity seemed lower than yesterday. I started with my 28mm wide-angle lens and then used the 18-55mm lens set at 18 mm with the same shutter settings. After about 30 minutes I added the wide-angle lens for about 25 minutes, and then the 18-55 mm lens for about 15-20 minutes. By then, around 5 am CDT dew had condensed on the lenses and me to the point where it was time to stop. Below are some highlights from this session.
   I saw a total of 4 meteors in a 2-hour time span, as well as 4 airplanes with their lights blinking and leaving long dash-like lines in several picture frames. What was enjoyable was watching the stars of the open star cluster the Pleiades coming into view over the tree tops. That cluster of stars is very obvious in the star trail pictures.


   
   
   
   

Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.