Monday 2nd to Sunday 8th August 2021
If you stay up into the early hours of Thursday morning 5th August, you will see a 12% lit Crescent Moon rise above the horizon to the east north east. To the right of the Moon, almost due east, will be the constellation of Taurus with the bright star Aldebaran.
Above Aldebaran will be the open cluster of stars known as the Pleiades or M45. As the Pleiades is only 400 light years away from us, it is quite bright with a magnitude of 1.6, so is easy to spot with the naked eye.
At the same time, if you have your telescope handy, another open cluster of stars known as M35 will be a little to the right of the Moon. This cluster is much fainter as it is over 3800 light years away.
Immediately to the south west of M35 is another open cluster known as NGC2158 - it doesn't have an "M" number as Charles Messier never discovered it.
Unfortunately NGC2158 is even harder to see because it is actually 9000 light years further away than M35 - the two clusters only appear close together because you are looking at everything in two dimensions - this occurs due to them being so far away from Earth that there is no depth perception.
As always, there are some star charts to help find your way around the night sky at starsoversomerset.com
Screenshots courtesy of Stellarium
Copyright Adrian Dening and Radio Ninesprings 2021