ISS, Taurus and Orion

   This morning (17 September) was another morning with clear skies and another chance at catching the ISS as it orbited overhead. This time the ISS came out of the northwest and reached around 70o above the horizon as it headed southeastward. It passed by the open star clusters the Pleiades and the Hyades and then passed below and parallel to the belt of Orion toward Sirius where the ISS disappeared behind some trees.
   This picture is made from 22 stacked pictures.

   
   
   

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Taurus Noses the Moon

   Monday morning August 6th the 24-day old waning crescent Moon will be about 4o from the reddish star Aldebaran, part of the open star cluster the Hyades. This v-shaped cluster of stars marks the face of Taurus the Bull, and Aldebaran represents the red ‘angry’ eye of Taurus.

   
   
   

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Waning Crescent Moon in Close Conjunction with Aldebaran

   Tuesday July 10th in the hour or so before sunrise local time the very thin 26.5-day old waning crescent Moon will be within about 1o (width of 2 full Moons) from the reddish star Aldebaran in the open star cluster the Hyades. The Hyades are a v-shaped group of stars marking the face of Taurus the Bull. Reddish-colored Aldebaran represents an angry eye of the Bull.
   This conjunction is close enough so that a combination of a thin waning crescent Moon and the bright Aldebaran should make for a take a look with binoculars or the ‘naked-eye’.

   For those keeping track of Jupiter should be relieved to read that Jupiter’s retrograde motion has ended, and at least for the foreseeable future Jupiter has agreed to stick with the ‘program’ and resume it’s direct motion – eastward.

   
   
   

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.


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Mercury and the Bees

   Late Wednesday evening July 4th the innermost planet Mercury will be within 0.5-1o from the open star cluster M-44, or more commonly known as the Beehive Cluster in Cancer the Crab. Both will be only 10-15o from the horizon and cold be a challenge to see. With binoculars the planet and star cluster should look good.

   
   
   

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.


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Venus May Get Stung!

   Over the next few evenings, June 19th and 20th the inner planet Venus, as it orbits toward the east, will pass within about 0.5-1o from the open star cluster known as M-44, or the Beehive Cluster. Venus shines brightly with an apparent magnitude of -4.0 compared to the combined apparent magnitude of 3.7 for M-44. Further to the east is the first quarter Moon, but it should be far enough away so that its reflected light will not interfere too much with seeing the open star cluster.


   This should make for a great sight through binoculars or a wide-field view telescope eyepiece.

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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.


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Venus and Moon Are In Conjunctions

   Monday evening May 21st the first quarter Moon and the inner planet Venus will each be in their own respective conjunctions. Venus is within 1o from the open star cluster, M-35, located near the foot of Castor, one of the Gemini Twins. Venus currently shines with an apparent magnitude of -3.96, and at that brightness will outshine the 5th magnitude of M-35.

    Nonetheless the two should be visible with binoculars, as this graphic simulates, as well as a couple of 3rd magnitude stars nearby.


   Further toward the east, and unmistakable is the first quarter Moon. During the night hours the Moon, as it orbits eastward, will pass within about 1.5o from the star Regulus in Leo the Lion. Since Regulus is very close to the ecliptic there is a good chance that the Moon and Regulus will have a regular repetitive pattern or cycle of conjunctions. As in the months that Regulus is above the horizon, which include the next two months, June 18th and July 15th.

   
   
   

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.

Venus Near Two Open Star Clusters


   Tuesday evening May 1st the inner planet Venus will be between 2-3o from the open star cluster the Hyades, and about 9o from the open star cluster the Pleiades. Both of these open star clusters make up the shoulder and face of Taurus the Bull.

   Venus is close enough to the Hyades and the reddish star Aldebaran so that all will fit within the 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.