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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sky Tonight—January 15, Moon near Aldebaran and the Pleiades


Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science

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phase15 Sky Tonight—January 15, Moon near Aldebaran and the Pleiadesjan15 Sky Tonight—January 15, Moon near Aldebaran and the PleiadesBright star on January evenings? It’s the planet Jupiter

We are displaying a larger swath of sky than we usually do on tonight’s chart. That is because we are showing you how to star-hop from the three stars of Orion’s Belt to the star Aldebaran and the Pleiades star cluster. Aldebaran and the Pleiades cluster reside within the constellation Taurus the Bull.

However, you will not need Orion’s Belt to locate Taurus the Bull tonight, because the bright waxing gibbous moon sits right in front of the Bull. The Pleaides star cluster lies to the west of tonight’s moon, while Aldebaran, the constellation’s brightest star, lodges to the south. Despite the moonlit glare, you may be able to see Aldebaran, the Bull’s eye. You may even be able to spot the Pleiades cluster, which marks the location of the Bull’s shoulder.

pleiades 300x246 Sky Tonight—January 15, Moon near Aldebaran and the Pleiades
The Pleiades, Click for a larger image

Like any constellation, Taurus the Bull is much easier to make out on a dark, moonless night. Starting the first weekend of February, you will have a solid week of moon-free evenings for viewing the Bull.

This evening, the moon nearly pinpoints the sun’s position relative to the backdrop stars for late May. Every year, the sun in its annual journey in front of the constellations of the Zodiac passes through Taurus from about May 13 to June 21.

Venus is the bright object up before dawn in January

Written by Bruce McClure


Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA/JPL

EarthSky: Space

CHANDRA Photo Album

U.S. Naval Observator Astronomical Information center

Universe Today

StarDate Online

Sky and Telescope

National Geographic

Space Com

Simostronomy Blog

Amazing Space

The York County Astronomical Society

Scope City

James S McDonnell Planetarium

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