Sunday, January 28, 2007

P's Corner - Spaced Out Sundays

Credit: NASA/ESA/AURA/Caltech

The Pleiades is the easiest star cluster to see without binoculars. You can even see it from inside some of the most light-polluted cities. The other night, ET asked me about a bright star that she was wondering about, and I thought she was referring to the Pleiades. But after consulting my favorite interactive sky chart, I figured that she was actually referring to Venus.

The sky chart I link to in the previous paragraph is a very handy tool by the way. All you need is a Java-enabled browser. You simply input your location, time zone, and local time and then it will provide a detailed interactive chart of the sky above your city. I like checking it out before we go out for evening walks.

Getting back to the Pleiades... Did you know that the Japanese word for that star cluster is Subaru? Yes, like the automobiles. In fact, their logo represents the Pleiades:

I laughed when I first learned about it. I had seen that logo so often here in North America and hadn't a clue what it was all about. Well, now I know!

Have a nice week!

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