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How to See the Hyades Star Cluster With A Telescope?

The Hyades Star Cluster is the closest cluster to the solar system containing myriads of stars some of which can be observed with the unaided eye. It is located at a distance of 150 light-years away from us. The four brightest stars Gamma Tauri, Delta 1 Tauri, Epsilon Tauri, and Theta Taur makes a V shape known as the head of the Bull, Tauru where Epsilon Tauri is the eye. Epsilon Tauri is familiar with its planetary satellite which is exceptional in Ursa Major Moving Group. However, the brightest star in the V is Aldebaran.

What is Hyades Star Cluster?

The Hyades Star Cluster is an open star cluster located in the constellation Taurus, about 153 light-years away from the Sun. It is the nearest open cluster to Earth and one of the best-studied star clusters. The cluster consists of a roughly spherical group of hundreds of stars sharing the same age, place of origin, chemical characteristics, and motion through space. The Hyades Cluster appears in the constellation Taurus, where its brightest stars form a “V” shape, which represents the Face of the Bull in the constellation. The Hyades star cluster is estimated to be about 625 million years old with a radius of 10 light-years (core radius). The cluster has an apparent magnitude of 0.5, making it one of the brightest open clusters in the night sky. Despite appearing as part of the V-shaped grouping of stars that comprises the bull’s head, the bright star Aldebaran is not part of the Hyades Star Cluster, as it is located much closer to Earth.

How far is Hyades Star Cluster from planet Earth?

The Hyades Star Cluster is located at an average distance of 153 light-years (47 parsecs) from Earth. This distance has been directly measured by observing the amount of parallax shift of the member stars as the Earth orbits the Sun, using the Hipparcos satellite and the Hubble Space Telescope. An alternative method of computing the distance, which involves fitting the cluster members to a standardized infrared color–magnitude diagram for stars of their type and using the resulting data to infer their intrinsic brightness, has also yielded a distance estimate of 153 light-years (47 parsecs) to the cluster center. The fact that these independent measurements agree makes the Hyades an important rung on the cosmic distance ladder method for estimating the distances of extragalactic objects. The distance from Earth to the Hyades Star Cluster is approximately 150 light-years. The cluster is the closest open star cluster to our solar system.

The cluster can be located at the head of the bull in the constellation Taurus, in the area that is shaped like a ‘V’. The five brightest stars in the cluster are Tianguan, Prima Hyadum, Secunda Hyadum, Ain, and Theta 1 Tauri. The Hyades is one of the closest clusters to us, closer than the Pleiades, and it is a naked eye cluster, so you should be able to see it on a clear night. You’ll probably need a telescope or binoculars to be able to see the items clearer.

Can you see Hyades Star Cluster with a telescope?

The Hyades Star Cluster, located in the constellation Taurus, is a prominent space object that can be observed with an 8 to 10-inch telescope. To view this cluster, a telescope with a minimum magnification of around 35x or less is recommended. The cluster is situated approximately 153 light-years away from Earth and has an estimated diameter of 33 light-years. It is the nearest star cluster to our planet. The Hyades Star Cluster is easily visible at the head of the bull, at the base of the V of the constellation Taurus. This cluster is composed of hundreds of stars that share the same age, place of origin, and motion through space.

Quick Guide to Observe the Hyades Star 

The Hyades star cluster can be found in the western sky from January to April. Make sure you use a star map; it will be quite helpful. The constellations of Taurus the Bull, the Pleiades, and Orion’s Belt can all be used to locate it. From March to June, around 10 o’clock in the evening, is the optimum time to see the Big Dipper. A fragmented Hyades Star Cluster is visible. Make use of a broad field of view to allow the telescope to hold the largest possible portion. 8-10 inch telescopes are necessary to see The Hyades Star Cluster.

How to find the Hyades Star Cluster?

There are three ways to find Hyades Star Cluster:

By using Orion’s Belt

  • Look for the three blue-white stars of Orion’s belt in the constellation Orion the hunter. 
  • Draw a line westward through the belt stars to the reddish bright star Aldebaran, the Bull’s fiery red eye. Aldebaran is not a real member of the Hyades Star Cluster, but it is used to find the Hyades as they are only about 65 light-years distant. 

By using the Pleiades

  • Look for the bright star cluster Pleiades. The Hyades is located very close to the Pleiades.

By using the constellation Taurus the Bull

  • Spot the constellation Taurus the Bull from the star chart. Point to the center of the constellation. The Hyades star cluster is located just near the center.

What is the best time to observe the Hyades Star Cluster?

You can look for the Hyades star cluster in the western sky in January and February whenever the night falls. By March and April, it progresses towards the western edge. The shape of this cluster is like the alphabet ‘V’ and Aldebaran is its brightest star. This unique shape made it very easy to identify. From the Northern Hemisphere, you can see the Hyades from around January to April in the evening sky.

Tip to observe the Hyades Star Cluster in the best way.

  • The Hyades Star Cluster is scattered. Use as wide a field of view as possible so that the most portion can fit in the telescope.

What can you see in the Hyades Star Cluster with a telescope?

  • The Hyades, mostly known as Melotte 25 is a popular celestial site mostly due to Greek mythology. According to Greek mythology, the Hyades were credited with receiving a place in the sky for nursing Zeus’ son Dionysus.
  • Theta- 2 Tauri is the brightest star in the Hyades with a magnitude of + 3.4.
  • Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) is an orange star that makes the team with Theta- 2 Tauri. However, it is not a member of The Hyades star cluster. 
  • The Seven sisters, also known as the Pleiades star cluster is also located in the constellation Taurus.
  • Delta1,2 (δ1,2) Tauri makes a real double star that is warmed up by Theta.
  • Another double star Sigma1,2 (σ1,2) Tauri is located 1° southeast of Aldebaran.
  • You will find Kappa1,2 (κ1,2) Tauri 3° north of the “V” shape of Taurus.
  • There are more than 130 bright stars at around 9 magnitudes easily visible by small telescopes.
  • There are some other double stars visible by medium-range (10-15 inch) telescopes.
    • β pm 62 (81 Tau): A double star with a magnitude of 5.5, 9.4 and a separation of 162″; PA = 339 °. They can be split by any scope.
    • Σ 554 (80 Tau): A double star difficult to spot and split with a separation of 1.5″; PA = 16° and magnitudes of 5.7, 8.1.
    • Delta3 (δ3): Triple star with magnitudes of 4.2 (A), 7.5 (B) / 8.7 (C); PA = 341°; and 1.8″, 77″ separation.
    • Σ 545: low-power double star at a separation of  18.5″; PA = 58° with magnitudes 6.9, 8.8.
    • Σ 559: Equal stars on an east-west line at a separation of 3.1″ and magnitudes 7.0, 7.0.
  • You can observe some nebulae too in that area.
    • Sh 2-239: Emission nebula, located in the constellation Taurus. You will need at least 8-inch scope to make it visible.
    • Hind’s Variable Nebula: Known as T Tauri Nebula or NGC 1555  appears as a faint curl of haze.
  • There you may find a lot of tiny UGC galaxies in the star cluster Hyades. With a 15-inch scope, you will find at least 8 of them.
    • UGC 3102: fuzzy but easy to find a spot with a bright visible core.
    • IC 374: small but elongated east-west with an identifiable nucleus.
    • UGC 3089: located southside of a triangle of the field of stars. It is round and fuzzy with a bright core.
    • UGC 3129: This galaxy is hard to identify as it is faint and dark.
    • UGC 3095: It is about 45 ″ across with a bright core. This galaxy is a part of the small triangle of stars and 

What telescope to see The Hyades Star Cluster?

8-10 are great telescopes to see The Hyades Star Cluster. A list of telescopes has more telescope options that can be used to see Hyades Star Cluster very clearly.

What size telescope to see the Hyades Star Cluster?

With an 8-inch telescope, you will get great views of The Hyades Star Cluster. The more the aperture, the better and sharper the views and the details. It is better to use at least 10-inch telescope so that you can observe the nearby sky treasures too.

What magnification is required to see the Hyades Star Cluster?

Use 140- 150x magnification to see the Hyades Star Cluster with details. 

Enjoying the Hyades Star Cluster? Here are other things to see with your telescope.

No doubt, the view of the Hyades Star Cluster is breathtaking. However, with the same telescope, you can observe more than thousands of night sky gems. You can get the best views of the planets of our solar system with their moons and other features. Viewing Jupiter Through A Telescope can guide you to observe the biggest planet in our solar system in the best ways. Viewing Nebula Through A Telescope can show you how to find colorful nebulae with a scope. However, you can choose any of the night sky objects from ‘List of things to see with a telescope’ to plan for a great star gazing session.