Now is the time to Observe the Pleiades

The Pleiades is an open cluster of well over a thousand stars which is visible in the Southern Hemisphere during summer and visible in the northern hemisphere during winter. As a result, over the next few weeks this cluster of stars is sinking closer to the horizon and will disappear from view from Sydney at the end of the month.

If you look at the brightest stars in this cluster, you may see a luminosity around the stars which are due to light reflecting off dust clouds. The interesting thing is

M45 (Click to Enlarge)

that these dust clouds are not actually a part of the cluster and are simply clouds of dust that the Pleiades are passing through. To see the dust clouds you really need good seeing conditions and a lot of observers are able to see the smaller stars in the cluster but no nebulosity.

If you are looking for the Pleiades using a telescope or a star chart, you may find the Pleiades by it’s other name of M45. The Pleiades is also known as the Seven sisters.

When you observe this cluster of stars, you will notice how bright the main stars are.

Sydney Universe Watch at http://sydneyuniversewatch.wordpress.com/ looks at the  Pleiades today andshows you how to find this open cluster of stars from Sydney.

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~ by sydneystargazers on March 1, 2010.

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