The Moon caresses the Pleiades
April 2006: The setting stars of winter provide one last hurrah as the Moon skates through the Pleiades star cluster. Later in the month, a waning crescent Moon hardly hinders the Lyrid meteor shower.
April 1, 2006
|No fooling on April 1, you can experience one of the most beautiful conjunctions the sky can deliver. Around 7 P.M. local time, some 45 minutes after sunset, look west to see a perfect "old Moon in the new Moon's arms." Point your binoculars at it to reveal a stunning sight: the bright Pleiades star cluster sparkling like a clutch of tiny diamonds accenting the primary jewel.|
The ashen light filling out the Moon's disk comes from sunlight reflecting off Earth's dayside up to the Moon, and then back to us. Literally, the Moon is bathed in earthshine. If it appears particularly bright, you can trace some lunar seas and bright craters through a small telescope.
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