A photo of Orion (left) and Taurus (right) taken March 11, 2021.

A tour through Taurus, the Bull

Tonight, as the sky darkens, look to the west to spot the large constellation called Taurus. The two distinctive parts of Taurus, about 25 degrees from the horizon, are your first targets.

Look for a large, well-defined V. That’s the Hyades Star Cluster. Grab your binoculars and look about the middle portion of each part of the big V to see if you can spy two wide double stars. On the right side is a pair called Delta and on the left is Theta.

Scan from the right tip of the Hyades V about 10 degrees to spot a reddish star. That’s Mars. Now sweep about 5 degrees from the right tip of the V to find a small kite-like group of stars called the Pleiades — or the Seven Sisters.

Slowly scan this star cluster to spot not only the brighter stars but the many faint stars in this pretty cluster.

A tour through Orion, the hunter

Sweep left (southwest) of the Hyades to spot three bright stars in a 3-degree row. This is the belt of Orion. Orion has a sword on his lower left side made up of three stars in a tiny row. This is your region to explore with your binoculars.

Carefully study each of the sword stars. The top star is actually several stars. The middle star has a fuzzy haze around it. This is the Orion Nebula. The bottom star is also a group of several stars.

Paul Morgan is an astronomer at Umpqua Community College in Winchester.

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