The head of the bull, Taurus, is an impressive naked eye open cluster. The Hyades are known since prehistoric times. According to the Greek mythology, the Hyades were the five daughters of Atlas. The clusterâ€™s true distance is about 150 l-y. Aldebaran, the right eye of the Bull, is a foreground star at a distance of 68 l-y. The core of the cluster consists of the well known V-shape or the head of the Bull. Several double stars are visible without optical aid under a pristine sky. Delta Tauri and Theta Tauri are easily split. Sigma Tauri is harder to separate. The Hyades cluster is one of the nearest open clusters. Most of its members can be found in an area as large as 20Â° around the V-shape. The head of the Bull is a beautiful sight in a low power pair of binoculars, even under a light polluted sky. My 8x56 were almost to powerful to encompass the Hyades.
Site : Bekkevoort, Belgium ( 51Â° N )
Date : December 7, 2008
Time : around 22.00UT
Binoculars : Bresser Spezial-Jagd 8x56
Filter : none
Mount : Trico Machine Sky Window
Seeing : 3/5
Transp. : 3/5
Sky brightness : 18.98 magnitudes per square arc second near zenith (SQM reading).
Sketch Orientation: N up, W right.
Digital sketch made with Corel Paint Shop Pro X2, based on a raw pencil sketch.
(Note: if the sketch does look too dark on your monitor, try to darken the room.)