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Look in the west tonight after dark to see the waxing crescent moon in front of the constellation Taurus the Bull.
Tonight’s moon presents a great jumping-off spot to find your way around Taurus. The star glaring to the left or upper left of the moon is Aldebaran, Taurus’s brightest star. Aldebaran, the ruddy eye of the Bull, is a red giant star and in the autumn of its years. The other bright light above the moon is Elnath, the star marking the tip of the Bull’s northern horn. On the other side of the moon from Elnath lies the famed Pleiades star cluster, which marks the Bull’s shoulder. As seen from Asia and Indonesia tonight, the moon and the Pleiades cluster pair up much closer together than they do in North America.
The Pleiades star cluster is composed of hundreds of stars that were born out of the same vast cloud of gas and dust in space. The Pleiades stars are still moving together through the galaxy.
Don’t forget the lovely moon. Its color may redden as it sinks lower in the sky tonight. If you have binoculars, use them to cruise along the terminator – the shadow line dividing the lunar day from the lunar night. It is along the terminator that you have your best view of the lunar landscape, with the contrast of light and shadow highlighting craters, mountains and valleys.
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