Log, Sep 19, 2008

38 people. We had a really exciting night tonight with the occultation of many stars in the Pleiades (M45) by the Moon. It isn't very common to be in exactly the correct spot on the world to see the Moon precisely in the center of the Pleiades. Usually the Moon is a bit above or below the center of M45 when it passes this way, but tonight it was almost exactly dead on. The very most exciting point was when the brighter stars of Pleiades ringed the Moon. Every one of the 7 Sister were a scant few arc minutes from the Moon's rim with the exception of Maia [20 Tau]. Maia was hiding behind the Moon at this moment just a bit above the center in the diagram.

Most of the time, our 16" telescope would have starred in whatever role we would have in the heavens but tonight, the big scope had two strikes against it. First, it is too powerful! Even with its widest angle lens, there isn't enough field width to take in the whole Pleiades. The second reason is the real crusher - this event happened at Moon rise (just before 9PM) and was basically over by 11PM. Most of this time, the Moon and the Pleiades were hidden by a big tree. We did get a view of it just before the Moon left M45 totally about 10:30. By this point the Sisters were in the wake of the Moon who was standing next to the Sister's Mom and Pop [BU Tau Pleione and 27 Tau Atlas].

We looked at Jupiter, M22, a whole bunch of double stars and we wandered around in constellations that we often neglect like Aries, Triangulum and the lower half of Perseus.

-Les Coleman

Leslie Coleman
Leslie Coleman
Entry Date:
Sep 19, 2008
Published Under:
Leslie Coleman's Log
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