Night Sky, 04/25


Are you enjoying spring? Amazingly we haven’t had any snow this month. We went from winter to spring in about two weeks, and our 3’ of yard snow has suddenly melted away.  
On the morning of April 25 the moon and Saturn will visit each other in our sky. That day the moon will be just to the right of Saturn, and on April 26 it will move to the left of Saturn. The 26th is the last quarter moon which will give us great sky viewing.  All we need is great weather.
One great star to look at is bright red orange Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull. It’s the 13th brightest star in our sky and easy to find. Just look at Orion the Hunter which is low in the west, and his belt points over to it on the right. Taurus is a 13 star constellation whose head is a five-star V shape representing his 2 long horns.  Aldebaran is on the left side of the V and marks the Bulls eye. It’s more than 50 times more luminous than our sun and is only 65 LY from us.
More than 5,ooo years ago ancient Persians designated Aldebaran as one of the 4 Royal stars which are the guardians of the Sky.  Each royal star signaled a season of the year. Aldebaran’s  proximity to the Sun during spring made it the Herald of Spring.
At the bottom of the V is the Hyades star cluster.  It’s an open star cluster that is the closest one to Earth. It’s made of about 250 stars that are 150 LY away. With a clear sky 5-10 can be seen with unaided vision. Obviously binoculars or a telescope will show you a lot more. In Green mythology the Hyades were the five daughters of the god Atlas and half sisters to the Pleiades.
The M45 Pleiades star cluster is to the right of the V and marks the bulls shoulder. In Greek mythology Taurus the Bull was turned into a constellation by the gods in order to protect the Pleiades 7 Sisters star cluster from the unwanted advances of Orion. It’s one of the most recognizable zodiac constellations in the sky and is claimed to be the oldest invented.
Ursa Major and the Big Dipper are high in the sky now.  It’s gotten closer to Leo the Lion. Big Dipper is high in the NW and Leo is high in the SW. Remember to look at the bright star Regulus along the ecliptic that the moon and Sun travel along. Regulus is part of Leo. Mars is still visible, but getting very low in the sky.


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