Saturday, March 17, 2012

Venus and the Pleiades

Venus in the Pleiades (M45) 3-April-2012. This is how it looked!   Below are the instructions for seeing Venus and the Pleiades.
Here is a short video to summarize the vent


Last photo from April 4th shows that Venus is leaving M45. Compare all photos and see that Venus is a planet and it moves between the fixed stars.
Venus in the Pleiades (M45) 4-Apr-2012
Venus in the Pleiades (M45) 4-Apr-2012


Venus in the Pleiades (M45) 3-Apr-2012
Venus in the Pleiades (M45) 3-Apr-2012
Venus in the Pleiades (M45)
Venus in the Pleiades (M45)



Venus in the Pleiades (M45)
Venus in the Pleiades (M45)

Venus in the Pleiades (M45)
Venus in the Pleiades (M45)


Here is how it looked a day before
Venus in the Pleiades (M45)
Venus in the Pleiades (M45) 2-Apr-2012
Photographing it is easy. Use the longest zoom lens you have, put the camera ona Tripod and expose for 1-10 seconds see what results are best for your taste, change the ISO from 200 too 800 and more and experience it.
Read below for the full article


Venus is moving fast leaving Jupiter well below. In the following nights, look a little up from Venus and you will see the Pleiades, known also as the seven sisters from the mythology. In two weeks they will have another sister, the eight - Venus.
Start by looking west about one hour after sunset, you will see Jupiter and Venus but look further up, and use the following picture:
Venus, Jupiter M45 and Aldebaran
Venus, Jupiter M45 and Aldebaran


You might see more or less stars depending on your location but you should see Aldebaran even from major cities. Look for the Pleiades. You shall see at least 4 or five star grouped together looking like a miniature of the well known big dipper. A more formal name for this groups is M45, which designate it as the 45th object in a catalog done by Charles Messier. It is an open cluster of several hundreds stars, very close (relatively) to each other, its distance from Earth is about 360-400 light years, and most people will be able to see seven of them with the naked eye from a very dark location. This is the reason that M45 got its mythological name "the seven sisters", and it might appearing in the bible as well under the name "Chima"
On April 3th 2012, Venus will be inside M45, so there will actually be eight sisters. Of course it will be great opportunity to observe such event, especially through a small telescope. here are some points to notice and learn before such observations
  1. Notice Venus orbit and how it gets each day closer to M45. Planets moves and you can see it in your own eyes
  2. check in advance how many stars from M45 you can see. Try to do it from darkest place, and even inside a city find a place which is not lighted directly
  3. If you have a binocular or a telescope try to count how many stars you can see through it. Even a small binocular will show many more stars
  4. During the event, Venus is so bright that it will be harder to see any of the M45 stars, so count again how many stars you can see with your naked eye and any optical device you have on April 3th 2012.
  5. Make a sketch of what you see. Is it look similar to the below?


Venus inside the Pleiades M45 - April 3th 2012
Venus inside the Pleiades M45 - April 3th 2012
Although Venus is in the Pleiades, it is really very far from them, It is just in the same point in the skies. Venus distance from earth is about 100M kilometers (60M miles), The Pleiades distance from Venus (and Earth) is about 400 light years!
Venus orbital period of 224.70069 days  make 13 Venus years almost identical to 8 Earth (orbital period 365.256363004) years. So we will see Venus in the Pleiades again on the same day in April  8 years from now and so on, although the day will slowly drift toward the 4th of April. For Example in 2036, Venus will be inside the dipper.
Good luck and enjoy your observation!

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