If you’ve not been looking for Venus over the past few nights, it’s time to have a peek.
High in the western sky after dusk (as seen from the northern hemisphere), the brightest planet is putting on a very special—and very rare—celestial show with the famous Pleiades open cluster of sparkling stars.
Also known as the “Seven Sisters” and M45, the Pleiades are one of the night sky’s most beautiful sights. They’re best seen through (any pair of) binoculars, and over the next few nights the cluster’s seven bright stars (there are about 100 in total) will be joined by Venus. You don’t need a telescope for this one.
It’s best seen tonight—Friday, April 3— and Saturday night, April 4.
However, the first photos of Venus creeping-up on the sparkling star cluster are already being shared by astrophotographers
Here’s a very special photo including a pass of the very bright International Space Station (ISS):
This sky-chart shows where to look:
How to see Venus in the Pleiades on Friday and Saturday
Just look west naked-eye after dark on Friday and Saturday, but make sure you do so before about 9 p.m. when Venus and the Pleiades sink towards the horizon. Once located, look around Venus and you’ll notice the sparkling stars of the Pleiades, though binoculars will give you the best view. If it’s cloudy on Friday evening you can still watch the event via livestream at Gianluca Masi’s Virtual Telescope site starting at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (17:30 UT).
Venus will remain within 5 degrees of the cluster through April 9.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.