Here is Mediterranea, Vis 43° 4,271 N – 16° 14,545 E, August 19, 2013, at anchor, Stoncica lighthouse illuminates the stretch of water ahead of us, the moon lights up the sky, the hours pass, on board we talk, the moon disappears on the horizon, now the sky is a bit darker, the stars are best seen, there are many, many, we begin to count them, impossible, nose up to the sky, eyes first right then left, we begin to recognize them, to give names to the constellations, this is easier for us, wait, it gets late, here they are! so, suddenly, when all or most of them are already sleep, they springing up, you see them and you not see them, you struggle but you know it’s them, unmistakable shine, they stand aloof, do not take so much space, squeeze your eyes to see them better, are they? themselves . you can not wrong … the Pleiades ! a small group of stars obscured by a thin film, a nebula that appears to wrap them, individuals will perhaps 5 or 6 or maybe 7 stars but with a binocular the vision becomes spectacular, the visual field is filled with hundreds of bright stars.
Julius Caesar had made his start from the calendar day of the “heliacal rising”, the first appearance in the morning sky before sunrise, the Pleiades.
To observe at convenient times, in the early evening, you have to wait October, when the constellation of Taurus, to which they belong, is located to the east shortly after sunset, and so visible throughout the winter.
But not in the summer, arriving late, you gotta wait to see them you have to go to bed late, very late and Mediterranea often made late to see the Pleiades.
The word Pleiades in the classical tradition means “doves” because it is said that Zeus transformed the seven sisters into doves and placed it in the sky, but according to another version derives from the greek “plein”, navigate, because they are considered the stars of the sailors, thanks which established at the beginning of the season generally sail the seas.
The Pleiades are an “open cluster”, a group of stars born together from a giant molecular cloud and yet united by mutual gravitational attraction. Open clusters are young objects, astronomically, and contain so many hot stars and bright.
The Pleiades are the number 45 in the catalog compiled by the French astronomer Charles Messier, M45 precisely.
“Smorfia” the number 45 is the wine …. and you cannot stay sober when you look at the Pleiades.