The Moon Near the Pleiades

Pleiades and the Moon
A last-quarter Moon will sneak up on the Pleiades before dawn on August 16th, similar to this view with a crescent Moon taken by Finnish astrophotographer Pekka Parviainen.

Early morning observers on Wednesday will have a spectacular view of the last-quarter Moon making a beeline toward the Pleiades star cluster (Messier 45) in the constellation Taurus.

The pair will rise in the east-northeast just before midnight and lie less than 5° apart. As the night continues, you can watch the Moon drift ever closer. Unfortunately, dawn will interrupt before the two meet. Only observers in Hawaii will see the Moon gradually pass in front of the star cluster.

Beginning at about 1 a.m. Hawaii time, Pleiads will be hidden by the leading bright lunar limb, and then pop out from behind the dark side of the Moon as much as an hour later.

The next good Pleiades occultation for observers in North America will occur on the night of October 9–10, just after full Moon. SkyandTelescope.com will provide details about this event as it nears.