Pleiades and the Moon

Look to the southwest on March 22nd to see the crescent Moon sneaking up on the Pleiades, similar to this view taken by Finnish astrophotographer Pekka Parviainen.

The crescent Moon will make a pretty pairing with the Pleiades star cluster (Messier 45) in the constellation Taurus this evening.

After twilight fades, look to the west and you'll be able to watch as the Moon edges closer to the star cluster as they sink toward the horizon. For much of the US, the pair will set before midnight local daylight time, well before they meet. Observers along the northern Pacific coast, however, will have the opportunity to see the dark limb of the Moon blot out (or occult) several of the star cluster's members. Residents of Alaska will see the Moon already in front of the star cluster as the sky darkens.

Because the paring will hang low above the western horizon, it should provide an excellent opportunity for astrophotographers to capture the event with interesting foregrounds. Submit your best shots to our Photo Gallery.

The next good Pleiades occultation for observers in North America will occur on the night of September 2–3, just after the Moon rises around midnight. will provide details about this event as it nears.


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