Tonight, Thursday Feb. 22, use the first quarter moon to find Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull.
At 7:30 p.m., the moon will be toward the southwest. Nine degrees to the east (left) of the moon is orange/red Aldebaran, the 14th brightest star in the sky and the brightest star in Taurus.
Aldebaran and Taurus will be considerably dimmed by the bright moon, but Aldebaran should still be visible if it is clear. Most of Taurus consists of a “V” of stars with the V on its side and the point of the V toward the west.
Aldebaran is the farthest star to the east in the lower part of the tipped V.
Once the moon is out of the way in about 10 days, look at Taurus with binoculars. You will notice many stars scattered among the brighter stars comprising the V. All these stars except for Aldebaran are part of the Hyades star cluster.
Aldebaran is “only” 67 light years away. It sits in front of the Hyades which are 150 light years away. The Hyades are supposed to be the half-sisters to Pleiades, the Seven Sisters. Speaking of the Pleiades, tonight they sit about 9 degrees above the moon. In fact, tonight the moon forms the right angle of triangle which includes Aldebaran to its left and the Pleiades above it.
This almost makes geometry fun.
Contact Tim Hunter at email@example.com