Tuesday morning October 17th the Dwarf Planet Ceres will be within about 3o from M-44, the open star cluster commonly known as the Beehive Cluster. Both will easily fit within the field of view of binoculars and with some careful observation Ceres at 8th magnitude might be identified just to the left from M-44 which appears as a 4th magnitude ‘smudge’ of light.
Saturday morning September 16th the thin waning crescent Moon will be 2-3o from the open star cluster M-44, or as it more commonly known the Beehive Cluster. This should make for a great view using binoculars.
Wednesday morning August 16th the 24-day old waning crescent Moon is within 2-3o from the reddish star Aldebaran and the rest of the stars of the open star cluster the Hyades, forming the v-shaped face of Taurus the Bull.
With 10×50 binoculars the Hyades and the Moon will all fit within the field of view as this graphic is showing.
Tuesday morning August 1st the inner planet Venus will pass within 3o from the open star cluster, M-35. Also known as the ‘Beehive Cluster’ this is an open star cluster located near the feet of the Gemini Twins. M-35 consists of several hundred stars and is approximately 2800 light years from our solar system. The star cluster has an apparent magnitude of around 5.5 making it naked-eye visible and certainly a binocular-worthy object.
Through binoculars it is easy to see M-35 as well as a 3rd and a 2nd magnitude star within a couple of degrees. However the ‘ruler’ of the binocular field of view is Venus with a -4.0 magnitude.
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.
Over the next several evenings the Moon, as it orbits toward the east and waxes from crescent to first quarter phase will pass by several planets, dwarf planets, and star clusters. On the evening of February 5th the Moon will be close to the reddish star Aldebaran, the ‘eye’ in the face of the angry bull, Taurus. This should make for a nice view with binoculars or low power eyepiece when the Moon will sort of overlay the stars of the open star cluster the Hyades.
These two animated graphics show the sky as viewed from Quito Ecuador at 0o latitude, and my home latitude of approximately 40o North. They show the sky at one day intervals starting with February 1st and ending with February 5th.
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.
Sunday January 8th the 11 day old waxing gibbous Moon will be a few degrees from the nose of Taurus the Bull, and the stars making up the open star cluster the Hyades.
Through 7×50 binoculars the stars of the open star cluster the Hyades and the Moon will make for an interesting sight.