Dawn Ceres

It’s worth looking at the pre-sunrise sky

and watching Venus pass through the Hyades cluster and north of Aldebaran.

And Brian Jones, in one of his copious daily “Starlight Nights” posts, reminds us that July 16 is the 271st birthday of Giuseppe Piazzi, who discovered the first asteroid, Ceres, on the first night of the 19th century (1801 Jan. 1).  Where is Ceres at the moment?  It is lower in the dawn sky, today passing 0.36 of a degree north of the great star-cluster Messier 35, in the “feet” of Gemini.  You may not be able to spot Ceres, at magnitude 8.9, so in theory M35, brighter, at magnitude 5.3, could be a guide to it.  The difficulty is not only the separation of only 22 degrees from the Sun, but the spread of the light in objects like clusters.


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