Baton Rouge Astronomical Society Forum

Pleiades (M45)
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Author:  Christopher K. [ May 31st, 2014, 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Pleiades (M45)

Some wonder why Messier added the Pleiades to his list, as that list was obstensibly a collection of objects which could fool him into thinking (for a short time, anyway) that he'd discovered a comet. However, Charles Messier must have known that the Pleiades have been known since antiquity. This "tiny dipper" of stars lies to the upper right of Orion.

One point of contention has always been how many individual Pleiads a person can see. Although the cluster is nicknamed the Seven Sisters, many can only see five or six easily. However, if one's eyes are quite sharp and one's sky is quite dark a double-digit enumeration is possible.

Below are selected times during which the Seven Sisters reach their highest Baton Rouge altitude of eighty-four degrees...
14 September = 5:18am
18 September = 5:02am
22 September = 4:46am
26 September = 4:31am
30 September = 4:15am
4 October = 3:59am
8 October = 3:43am
12 October = 3:28am
16 October = 3:12am
20 October = 2:56am
24 October = 2:40am
28 October = 2:25am
1 November = 2:09am
5 November = 1:53am
9 November = 1:38am
Times above are Daylight. Times below are Standard.
13 November = 12:22am
17 November = 12:06am
21 November = 11:46pm
25 November = 11:31pm
29 November = 11:15pm
3 December = 10:59pm
7 December = 10:44pm
11 December = 10:28pm
15 December = 10:12pm
19 December = 9:56pm
23 December = 9:41pm
27 December = 9:25pm
31 December = 9:09pm
4 January = 8:53pm
8 January = 8:38pm
12 January = 8:22pm
16 January = 8:06pm
20 January = 7:51pm
24 January = 7:35pm
28 January = 7:19pm

More information:
Celestial Handbook by Robert Burnham, pp. 1862-1886.
Year-Round Messier Marathon by Harvard Pennington, pp. 96-97.
Cosmos by Carl Sagan, pp. 226 and 231 (original trade paperback).
Messier Objects by Stephen James O'Meara, pp. 144-147.
Turn Left at Orion by Guy Consolmagno and Dan Davis, pp. 40-41.

Author:  Christopher K. [ June 20th, 2014, 8:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pleiades (M45)

A picture of the Pleaides from Joel Tonyan is slide number three in the collaborative gallery from Time Magazine and the Astronomical League. Tonyan made the image in April from Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Author:  Christopher K. [ October 8th, 2014, 2:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pleiades (M45)

This morning HRPO has advertised a viewing time of 3:30am to 6:30am for the total lunar eclipse; therefore, many who make not be able to make it to the Observatory may step out of their homes beginning at 3:30am to view the Moon. However, the Moon will not hit the Earth's umbra until 4:15am. In the meantime, and especially if you have a binocular, take advantage of this star cluster's high altitude. At 3:30am the Seven Sisters will be virtually overhead--eighty-three degrees high in the southeast.

Author:  Christopher K. [ January 16th, 2015, 5:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pleiades (M45)

Tonight, tomorrow night and Sunday night the Pleiades will be in a loose conjunction with one-time visitor Comet Lovejoy (one time for our lives, anyway). The two will remain fewer than nine degrees apart this weekend, so M45 will be a good marker for finding the comet. That's what I did in Baker last night, and it was easy.

Beautiful picture from Alan Dyer:

Author:  Christopher K. [ March 2nd, 2015, 6:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pleiades (M45)

This Friday night BRAS President Merrill Hess will present "The Pleiades--Jewels of the Sky" at the Highland Road Park Observatory. Mr. Hess' presentation will cover not only the science and beauty of the cluster but some of its mythological background as well. The talk begins at 7:30pm and is aimed toward a general adult audience. There is no admission fee.

Author:  Christopher K. [ October 15th, 2015, 7:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pleiades (M45)

Last night at about 10:50pm, while Brad Schaefer and Nick Cannady discussed Epsilon Lyrae and Algol, I stretched out on the front viewing pad and looked at the Pleiades in a Bushnell 10x. I counted twenty-five Pleiads. This is another object which can be used for the Sky Puppy Club.

Author:  Christopher K. [ January 3rd, 2016, 5:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pleiades (M45)

Glanced at M45 on 19 November at about 7:50pm. With unadjusted (and not young) eyes and the light of a first quarter Moon, I saw two (maybe three) Pleiads.

On 23 November at 9:05pm the waxing gibbous Moon was in Aries. I saw Hamal and Sheratan after I blocked the Moon with my hand! Meanwhile, the Pleiades were barely noticeable; I used Aldebaran and Capella to find the spot.

Author:  Christopher K. [ February 18th, 2016, 4:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pleiades (M45)

I looked at M45 with one of the Bushnells last night at ~9:10pm CST. I counted twenty-four easily, even with no mount, no dark-sky adaption and a waxing gibbous Moon.

Author:  Christopher K. [ October 31st, 2016, 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pleiades (M45)

The Pleiades is part of Stephen James O'Meara's so-called "Ghost Hunt"--a collection of over 100 celestial objects suitable for Halloween viewing. That's tonight! M45 is currently about forty-five degrees up.

The cluster certainly has inspired some storytelling...

Author:  Christopher K. [ February 4th, 2017, 8:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pleiades (M45)

Go outside right now and face south. Look way up… You’ll see an amazing triangle—the blue Pleaides on top, lovely orange Aldebaran to the left and the white-gray Moon (a little past First Quarter) to the right.

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