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Now happening … the closest conjunction between Mars and the Pleiades cluster 30 years ago

The sky of Egypt and the Arab world is witnessing now, since sunset on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, the occurrence of a planet Mars It is near the Pleiades star cluster, which will be 2.6 degrees apart, the closest conjunction since January 20, 1991 .

It will be easy to see the planet Mars with the naked eye, although its brightness has dimmed compared to the past four months, but there is a need to use binoculars or imaging to see the Pleiades star cluster near the red planet from within cities.

The Jeddah Astronomical Society revealed in a report that Mars is currently observed in the western horizon in the constellation Taurus near the red star Aldebaran, and it is easy to distinguish between them despite the relative similarity in color and brightness. The upper red point (for the observer) is the star of Aldebaran. Mars will be below it and much closer to the Pleiades cluster.

The report continued: One of the most notable differences is also that Aldebaran shines on its own while Mars reflects the light of the sun, in addition to that Aldebaran and the Pleiades star cluster are “fixed” points of light in the constellation Taurus, but Mars is only a temporary visitor..

Mars is the fourth planet in terms of distance from the sun and it takes about two years of Earth years to make a full circle in front of the constellations of the stars in the zodiac, so Mars usually meets the Pleiades every two years, however, as an exception, the next conjunction of Mars with the Pleiades will happen next year ( Instead of the following year) on August 20, 2022.

It happens in rare cases that Mars has 3 associations with the Pleiades in a period of about 4.7 months, and for this to happen, Mars must reach the meeting at a critical time, so that Mars can pass near the Pleiades as it moves forward (east in front of the stars in the zodiac) ), Then backward (towards the west in front of the stars in the zodiac), and then back and moving (east) again, and this happened in 1991-1990 and will be repeated again in 2038-2037.

To monitor the conjunction of Mars with the Pleiades cluster, the binoculars will be ideal, through which Mars and the Pleiades will appear in the same field of view, in addition to that, the large size of the Pleiades is suitable for binoculars that reveal many faint stars associated with the star cluster and contain them all in one view.

The pairing will also be attractive for astrophotography as Mars and the Pleiades cluster are bright enough to be photographed by smartphones and digital cameras, through a lens with a focal length of 200 mm with a digital sensor system camera. (APS -C) Photography will be good.

It is worth noting that the conjunction of Mars and Pleiades this year will not repeat at the same apparent distance again until February 4, 2038.

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