A Pretty Scene in Taurus

The Pleiades star cluster
The Pleiades star cluster M45

This evening, April 8th will offer a beautiful view with Mars and slim crescent Moon located between the Pleiades and the larger Hyades star clusters.

The Moon will be a slim crescent, only 14% illuminated. Mars will be 5° north (to the right) of the Moon, shining at +1.5 magnitude. Above and below will be the bright star clusters.

Moon in the Hyades

This evening a pretty crescent Moon will pass through the bright Hyades star cluster. The Moon will be a very thin crescent, only 2.9% illuminated and 1.5 days past new. As such it will not be so bright as to completely over power the star cluster. The Moon will be 3° west of the bright red star Aldebaran, at the center of the vee shaped cluster. As the cluster is 15° above the horizon at sunset there should be ample time to enjoy the sight before the Moon sets at 20:12 HST.

Venus and the Hyades

As Venus approaches maximum elongation it will pass through the Hyades star cluster. Because Venus reaches it maximum western excursion on July 1st the planet will sweep out an arc that runs just inside the V-shape of the cluster. Thus the planet will remain within the main body of the cluster for the next 20 days.

Today the planet is only 26′ from εTau at one corner of the V-shaped cluster. On July 8th the planet will pass about 1° from Aldebaran as it exits the cluster at the other corner of the V.