I’m eagerly awaiting Tuesday, April 8th. That evening, weather permitting, everyone in North America can witness a wonderful celestial scene.The three-day-old Moon is always sublime, thick enough to see easily but thin enough to be otherworldly. On the 8th the crescent is unusually high at dusk and right next to the Pleiades, the sky’s finest naked-eye star cluster. Normally the Moon overpowers nearby stars, but not when it’s this thin.
Lucky viewers in eastern Canada and the northeastern US even get to see the Moon occult (cover) some of the northern Pleiades, starting around 9:45 p.m. EDT. The Moon’s leading limb will be well lit by earthshine but still dim enough that it will be easy to watch the stars wink out.
Eastern Ontario is ideally placed, with the occultations starting when the Moon is high in a fully dark sky. Farther east, the Moon sets while occultations are still in progress. In the southern US the Moon passes north of the Pleiades, and on the West Coast, the closest approach takes place in broad daylight. But whether you see the Moon inside the Pleiades or just near them, it will be a magnificent sight.