The past several evenings, Venus has been snuggling up to one of the most famous star clusters, the Pleiades. Universe Today readers have taken some beautiful images of that event, and they have generously shared them with us. Above is John Chumack’s stunning view from Ohio in the US; see below for more images from around the world!
The Pleiades, also known at the Seven Sisters, is a beautiful bright blue open star cluster 440 light years from Earth. Only once every eight years does this conjunction take place.
John Anton took this pretty image from New Jersey in the US. “It was a beautiful sight,” he said.
Astronomers say that the relative tightness of the cluster indicates this is a young group of stars, and the member stars were formed about 100 million years ago and will probably travel together through space as a bound cluster for another 250 million years before the gravity of the Milky Way breaks up the cluster into individual field stars.
“An old SLR 70-210mm zoom lens on my DMC-G10. 5 second exposure, 1600 ISO. Tree illuminated partly by a neighbours light and partly by the built in flash on the camera,” says Dave Liddicott.
Sirrka Stephens from Norway took her image using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-F62, Leica 35mm, 30 sec., f/2.8, ISO 80, rotated to the left.
“Space Weed” from Beirut, Lebanon took this image on April 3, 2012. “2 second exposure, ISO 1600, f 5.9, Stack of 40 images and 18 dark frames, Level correction in Photoshop,” Space Weed reports.
Tavi Greiner on the east coast of the US took this lovely image on April 2, 2012.
Another beautiful view from Austin Russie. “A luminous Venus passes directly between Earth and an elusive cluster of stars known as the Pleiades,” he says.
Laurent Laveder from France sent in this unusual image showing the shifting of Venus in the Pleiades in two hours’ time.
The final image is by Miguel Claro from Portugal, who can be seen enjoying the stars with binoculars “in a peaceful moment,” he said.
There are more images on UT’s Flick page, so check them out!
Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group, post in our Forum or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.
Editor’s note: Apologies for the irregular formatting of this article — we’re working to fix it!
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.