Home > Constellations, Ephemeris Program > 04/29/2021 – Ephemeris – A star cluster that seems out of place

04/29/2021 – Ephemeris – A star cluster that seems out of place

April 29, 2021

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Thursday, April 29th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 10 minutes, setting at 8:45, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:33. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 12:25 tomorrow morning.

Looking to the southeast these nights one can find the dim constellation of Coma Berenices, or Berenice’s hair. It’s located near the bottom of a triangle between Leo, Boötes the Big Dipper. It’s best seen on a moonless night as a sprinkling of faint stars that look like strands of hair. It is a star cluster some 271 light years away, the second-closest star cluster to the Earth, after the Hyades that marks the face of Taurus the bull, at about 160 light years. Coma Berenices is located at an odd spot for an open or galactic star cluster. It’s as far from the milky band as you can get. Most galactic star clusters are close or in that band. However, due to its closeness Coma Berenices is north of the solar system, as we both orbit the center of the Milky Way.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Coma Berenices finder chart
Coma Berenices finder chart. Created using Stellarium.

Coma Berenices and the galactic pole
Coma Berenices and galactic coordinated showing how close to the galactic pole it is. Created using Cartes du Ciel

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