Orion, Taurus and the Seven Sisters

Most people I believe would know the Orion constellation in the night sky – particularly the three stars that make up Orion’s Belt. You may also have heard of the stars Rigel, Betelgeuse and the others. But have you noticed what’s right next to it? Taurus the Bull! 

But how do you find it?  Well if you’re reading this on March 25th 2015, look for the Moon – it’s sitting on one of Taurus’s horns – just above the bright star Aldebaran.

If you draw an imaginary line through the stars of Orion’s belt, and keep going – you’ll spot the bulls eye – a star named Aldebaran.

Aldebaran

Aldebaran is the brightest star in the Taurus constellation. It’s size is around 40 times the diameter of our sun. To put that into perspective:

Aldebaran and the Sun

If you keep moving down to the right of Aldebaran, you can spot a cluster of stars called the Pleiades.

The Pleiades

The Pleiades (also known as the Seven Sisters). are a cluster of stars in the shape of a big dipper – just like it’s big brothers, the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper.

It’s a little more difficult to see with the naked eye, so if you have binoculars or a telescope, follow the illustration above to locate it.

The name Pleiades is Ancient Greek. To “Plein” means to “sail” and is connected with the sailing season in the Mediterranean Sea.

There is another derivation, Pleione – the mother of the seven divine sisters.

Which is right? Who knows… I just like looking at them!

If the sky’s clear, why not go out tonight and look up – and leave me a comment here to let me know if you were able to spot the stars and constellations above.

All the best, Mark

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