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Springtime Pleiades

 

The Pleiades, the stunning Seven Sisters, can be found high in the sky as the Sun sets during the end of winter; as springtime progresses, it sinks lower and lower in the west.

A Giant Guides Us to the Pleiades

Face south to find and the cosmic giant, Orion the Hunter, a very large hourglass-shaped constellation. This Star Map can help orient you in locating Orion, his red shoulder star Betelgeuse and both reddish Aldebaran and the Pleiades star cluster, further to the northwest (right). Once you have this orientation, Look Up in the night sky for this diagonal lineup of two red stars and a glistening star cluster.

The Seven Sisters form the shape of a tiny dipper in Taurus the Bull, northwest of reddish Aldebaran, the Bull's eye. Aldebaran is one end of the V-shaped Hyades star cluster , the Bull's face. The Pleiades mark the hump of the bull or the brand on the shoulder of the Bull. The dipper-shaped Pleiades sparkle bluish-white in the night.

 

 

Image: StarDate Online / Adobe Photoshop

... if you have fairly dark skies you will see a tiny cluster of stars called the Seven Sisters, although most people can only count six with the naked eye. Some people think this cluster looks like a tiny dipper or a cluster of grapes, but in western tradition they are known as the seven daughters of Atlas who ride across the sky on the shoulder of Taurus the Bull and whose bright red eye Aldebaran can be seen up and to their left. Star Gazer 2007 Script 4/2-8

 

The Pleiades is probably the most recognized and celebrated star cluster in the heavens. Even observers in light-polluted cities can view these reputable stars with the unaided eye. Did you know this is one of the brightest and closest open clusters and that it is also known as M45 and Subaru in Japanese?

 

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