The Pleiades

From Scope F70076

Sep 20, 2008. This was the first night this year when the sky was dark and clear enough after the light nights in summer. There were still some clouds in the sky. Again it was quite easy to find the Pleiades (the Messier object M45) because the Moon was quite near it, and because the Pleiades is a quite big object so that when moving from Moon in the approximately right angle, it was easy to see that object in the finder scope. To find it otherwise, the Pleiades is in the constellation Taurus, and Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) is the brightest star in Taurus. Aldebaran is a very bright, less than magnitude 1 yellow star, so one most likely can find it, but the Pleiades itself is also quite bright, so with clearer skies one may also see it with the naked eye.

The Pleiades filled all the field of view of my 20mm eyepiece. There were the seven bright stars, and many smaller ones. I saw something which resembled nebulosity, but it was likely rather a large number of small stars which my telescope couldn't resolve.

Later I also saw the Pleiades with the naked eye. It was a glow in the sky bigger than the Moon, but it was very faint so that it was barely visible, it is possible to see it though when you know where to look. I also tried to look at the Pleiades with a 3 inch magnifying glass. It magnifies the remote objects almost two times and should make the objects as much brighter as a 3 inch scope, but too small magnification and the fact that the image is not projected to the entire field of view of the eyes, makes it useless for observing almost any objects. The Pleiades looked somewhat brighter, I saw it more like a line, where I think I could resolve three stars. The magnifying glass has not been useful though to see any other objects any better. Thus the main purpose of an eyepiece is not making the objects visible, but to magnify and widespread the view to the whole field of view of the eyes.

The Pleiades cluster was mentioned by Homer in 750 B.C.

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