Once every eight years, as dictated by orbital mechanics, planet Venus crosses the Pleiades star cluster. The star cluster is one of those nearest Earth and easy to spot: to the right and running ahead of the great Orion constellation. It’s an open cluster consisting of about 1,000 gravitationally-bound stars though only a few of them are visible to the unaided eye. Longer camera exposures reveal more and more stars in the group. The before, during, and after-transit conjunction positions of Venus and the Pleiades make for a lovely sight by eye, telescope, and a favorite target for astrophotographers. Shown below are some of the images CAA members have made of the April 2020 Venus/Pleiades combinations.
The CAA will host their last program and star party of the year for the Medina Park District Saturday, Nov. 12, starting at 8 PM at the Letha House building.
Club president William Murmann will give a presentation about the European Southern Observatory at 8 PM, followed by a public star gazing program if sky conditions permit.
If the skies are clear, observers will see the 17-day waning Moon offering great edge-of-terminator views of some large craters on the eastern limb including floor-fractured Petavius.
Io should be crossing Jupiter around 9:30 that moon casting its shadow on Jupiter’s cloud tops — a good target for larger scopes. All of the Galilean Moons will be visible. The Pleiades and Hyades star clusters will be up, and Orion will be rising in the east.
Club members are asked to please bring their telescopes and join in the star party.