Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Moon and Seven Sisters

In the wee hours the morning of Thursday, July 20th, people in the Eastern and Central parts of North America will get a rare, special treat: the moon will pass in front of the Pleiades.

You know what the Pleiades are. You've seen them, probably, especially in the Winter. Some people think they are "The Little Dipper", even though they are nowhere near the actual Little Dipper in the sky, and they are a much smaller, tighter grouping of stars, about twice the size of the full Moon. They are a beautiful cluster of stars that shine like a fistful of diamonds in the night sky. Known from antiquity as the "Seven Sisters". only six stars are generally visible to the naked eye now, although with binoculars you will see many more. (In Japan they go by another name - "Subaru" - and they grace the emblem of cars made by the Subaru corporation.)

I don't need to give detailed information on how to find the Pleiades; if you're going to look for this, you only need to find the moon, and look for the Pleiades nearby. According to Sky & Telescope's July issue this occultation (meaning one thing is passing in front of another thing) will take place from 2:00 - 5:00 Eastern Time in the morning on Thursday. (See here for more specific information.) It's a fairly rare event, so if you're in the Eastern or Central parts of the U.S. or Canada, stay up late or wake up early and see what you can see!


past forgiveness said...

thanks for the information. Its very useful but I doubt for me it will matter. Maybe someday it will Im just not there yet.

D.B. Echo said...

P.F., there is beauty all around us, and right in front of us. Sometimes you just have to let yourself see.