Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Shopping Cart Constellation

I have to get up early for work, and in the Fall and Winter months it's usually still dark. I like getting up in the dark because while I walk the dog around I get a few minutes of stargazing before it begins to get too light. One sight had me taking out my binoculars and I was pleasantly surprised by what I viewed. At first I saw what appeared to be a very small, tight constellation. It looked like a miniature Big Dipper, but it really reminded me of a shopping cart. So I called it "The Shopping Cart" constellation until I was able to find out its true name. I saw these stars every morning and so I decided it was time to take a better look and brought out the binoculars. Through the eyepieces the stars went from faint to brilliant! Bright, white and luminescent. But even more than that the whole field of vision was filled with stars. A whole cluster! I was soon to find out from my guidebook that it is the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters. I put the binoculars down and there were no stars visible around the now faint "Shopping Cart" constellation. I again looked through the binoculars and saw the circle filled with stars set off by the brilliance of the Pleiades. Work was a let-down after that beautiful discovery.

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