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

Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science

Visit EarthSky at
www.EarthSky.org [1]

[2] [3]Bright star on January evenings? It’s the planet Jupiter [4]

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 [5] and the Pleiades star cluster [6]. 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 [7] 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.

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 [9]

Written by Bruce McClure [10]

Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA/JPL [11]

EarthSky: Space [12]

CHANDRA Photo Album [13]

U.S. Naval Observator Astronomical Information cente [14]r

Universe Today [15]

StarDate Online [16]

Sky and Telescope [17]

National Geographic [18]

Space Com [19]

Simostronomy Blog [20]

Amazing Space [21]

The York County Astronomical Society [22]

Scope City [23]

James S McDonnell Planetarium [23]