Venus approaching the Pleiades on March 31st, photographed by astronomy professor Jimmy Westlake of Stagecoach, Colorado.

Venus Gets With the Seven Sisters

ICTMN Staff
4/3/12

No wonder the Greeks called Venus the Goddess of Love: No sooner has her tryst with the moon and Jupiter ended than she is sidling on over to the Pleiades, or as they’re known in Native parlance, the Grizzly Sisters (Sierra, Paiute), the Six wives (Western Mono Tribe, California) or the children.

This week, according to NASA, the glowing second planet from the sun will hover near the most elusive sky-watching sight: a group of stars that can only be glimpsed with peripheral vision.

It’s certainly a case of opposites attracting. The playing-hard-to-get Pleiades are “best seen out of the corner of your eye, a pretty little surprise that pops out of the night sky when you're staring elsewhere,” as NASA puts it.

Venus, for her part, is the brightest object in the sky aside from the moon.

“Dazzling, bright enough to cast faint shadows, it beams down from the heavens and grabs you when you're not even looking,” NASA said in a press release.

But once about every eight years, the love planet slips through the Pleiades, NASA said.

On Monday April 2, on cue at sunset, Venus entered the edge of the Little Dipper. The big show, though, is the evening of April 3, when the brilliant planet will bathe the star cluster in beams of light as it glides just below the bowl of the Little Dipper. It is best seen with binoculars, NASA said. It exits by the handle on Wednesday April 4.

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