Tag: Pleiades

2020, April 4: Venus and Pleiades

Venus and Pleiades, April 4, 2020
2020, April 4: 0.9° to the upper left of the brightest star in the cluster, Alcyone

One day after Venus passed the Pleiades, the brilliant planet is still nearby. The Venus is 0.9° to the upper left of the brightest star in the cluster, Alcyone. During the next few evenings Venus moves up and to the left of the star cluster.

Venus and Pleiades, April 4, 2020
2020, April 4: 0.9° to the upper left of the brightest star in the cluster, Alcyone.

 

For more about Venus as an Evening Star, visit this page.

2020, April 1: Venus and Pleiades

2020, April 1: Venus is 1.8° to the lower right of the Pleiades star cluster.

 

This evening, Venus is 1.8° to the lower right of the Pleiades star cluster.

Use a binocular to highlight the view of the cluster and the nearby checkmark-shaped Hyades, especially with a bright moon in the sky.  With the yellow-orange star Aldebaran, the Hyades cluster makes a V-shape, although the Aldebaran is not part of the cluster.

More about Venus and the Pleiades, click here.

2020, March 23: Venus and Pleiades

Venus and Pleiades, March 23, 2020
2020, March 23: Venus is 10.4° to the lower right of Alcyone, the brightest star in the Pleiades.

Brilliant Venus shines brightly in the west this evening.  It is 10.4° to the lower right of Alcyone, the brightest star in the Pleiades.  Each evening Venus moves closer to the cluster.  Venus passes the Pleiades on April 3.  On March 28, the moon joins the scene.

For more about Venus as an Evening Star, visit this page.

 

2020, March 17: Brilliant Venus Begins Approach to Pleiades

Venus and Pleiades, March 17, 2020
2020, March 17: Venus is over 16° to the lower right of the Pleiades star cluster.

Venus begins its approach to the Pleiades and their April 3, conjunction. This evening, Venus is over 16° to the lower right of the star cluster. The Pleiades are in the constellation Taurus.  The pattern’s brightest star is Aldebaran, to the upper left of the star cluster.

Venus and the stars shine through a thin veil of clouds this evening.

For more about the Venus-Pleiades conjunction, click here.

For more about Venus during March, click here.

2020, March 28: Spectacular Grouping of Venus, Crescent Moon, and Pleiades

March 28, 2020: Venus, the crescent moon, and the Pleiades Cluster are near each other.
Venus appears near the moon and the Pleiades star cluster on the evening of March 28, 2020.

The crescent moon groups with Venus and the Pleiades star cluster on the evening of March 28, 2020. 

Start looking for Venus and the moon about an hour after sunset.  As the sky darkens further, the Pleiades star cluster is fully revealed.  The trio makes a pretty triangle.  By the end of evening twilight, about 90 minutes after sunset, the sky is fully dark naturally and the grouping sparkles in the western sky.

The crescent moon is only 18% illuminated.  It is only 4.7 days past its New phase.

The star Aldebaran, the brightest in Taurus, appears to the upper left of the grouping.

Use tripod-camera to capture the triple grouping.  Exposures from 1-10 seconds will capture earthshine on the moon.  Reflected sunlight from Earth gently illuminates the night portion of the moon.

Link to Venus during March 2020 article.

2020, April 3: Spectacular View of Venus and Pleiades

Venus and Pleiades

April 3 2020 Venus and Pleiades
2020, April 3: Venus passes the Pleiades

 

Venus in Taurus: A Spectacular Pleiades Conjunction on April 3, 2020.

For more about Venus as an Evening Star, visit this page.

In late March, Venus moves into Taurus, heading for a conjunction with the Pleiades. During April, Venus moves between the Pleiades and Hyades, and toward Elnath, the Bull’s northern horn.

Brilliant Venus is easy to spot and easily mistaken for a bright light on an airplane.  The Pleaides cluster is in the shape of a tiny dipper.  Its stars are not bright, but easily seen. Many times they initially draw your attention from the edge of your vision.

Step outside and look into the western sky about an hour after sunset. (Check your local sources for sunset in your location.)  As the sky darkens further, the Pleiades are easier to locate.

A binocular highlights the view of the cluster and the nearby checkmark-shaped Hyades.  With the yellow-orange star Aldebaran, the Hyades cluster makes a V-shape, although the Aldebaran is not part of the cluster.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Click through the gallary of Venus and Pleiades images.

Through the binocular, you should be able to count a dozen stars in the Pleiades cluster.  A telescope’s view is too narrow to catch the full cluster.

The chart above shows the motion of Venus as it moves near the star cluster. Here’s what to look for:

  • March 30: Venus moves into Taurus, 3.6° to the lower right of Alcyone (Eta Tauri on the chart), the brightest star in the Pleiades cluster.
  • March 31: At the end of evening twilight (about 90 minutes after sunset), Venus, over 25° up in the west, is 2.7° to the lower right of Alcyone. Watch Venus close the gap to Alcyone during the next several evenings.
  • April 3: One hour after sunset, Venus, 30° up in the west, is 0.3° to the lower left of Alcyone. This is the best night.  While Venus and the cluster appear close together, Venus is relatively nearby in our solar system, while the cluster is nearly 400 light years away!
  • April 4: This evening and for the next few evenings Venus and Sirius are at nearly the same altitude in the west at about 9 p.m. CDT in Chicago, a few minutes after the end of evening twilight (about 105 minutes after sunset). While Venus and Sirius are too far apart for technical comparisons of their brightness difference, the brightest star and the brightest planet are the same altitude in the western sky. Sirius, Orion’s belt, Aldebaran, and Venus are nearly in a line across the western horizon. The Venus – Alcyone gap, 0.9°. Gaps as Venus moves eastward along the ecliptic and away from the Pleiades: April 5, 1.8°; April 6, 2.7°; April 7, 3.5°; April 8, 4.6°; April 9, 5.2°.

Continue to watch Venus move through Taurus during the next several days.