Sunday, April 6, 2008

Moon occults the Pleiades

Tuesday April 8 brings the Curious Skywatcher an enchanting sight. After darkness settles, the thin crescent moon hovers serenely in the west. It glows almost magically with Earthshine. Just above it glitters the diminutive dipper-shaped cluster of stars, the Pleiades. Beginning about 9:30 the moon slowly moves in front of the Pleiades' northern edge.

Look through binoculars at this pretty scene until it sets shortly after 11 p.m. Some stars disappear behind the moon's disk, some stars pop out from behind the crescent's rim. The moon moves!

Such is our view from Earth...


Jeff said...

Thank you for all your informative posts about the cool upcoming celestial occurences. I hope our clouds can clear for a while on Tuesday evening to view this latest event.

Jeff said...

After 5 straight days of much needed fog, clouds, and rain in our drought-stricken region of Floyd County, Virginia, the clouds parted this evening just before 9 PM for a beautiful display of the crescent moon with the Pleiades barely to its left. But shortly thereafter, high clouds mostly obscured the moon and fully obscured any nearby stars. Subsequent periodic checks of the sky verified that further breaks in the clouds were not going to be provided. How disappointing! I must say that the earlier view of the crescent moon through binoculars was a spectacular sight. I could see the whole outline of the moon with just the thin crescent brightly illuminated, but the remainder of the disk was certainly distinguiable. I hope the Curious Skywatcher had better fortune with the skies near his home to view the occultation. Thanks for bringing this event to our attention. I will look forward to future posts notifying us of interesting observations!