2013 March 4
Appulse of Ceres and Beta Tauri
The minor planet Ceres, currently at magnitude 8.3 comes within 0.4 degrees of the 2nd magnitude star beta Tauri (El Nath) on March 6. This is an ideal opportunity to find Ceres with binoculars. El Nath is easy to find (it is the star marking the northern horn of Taurus) and Ceres will be passing just south of it over the next few days. The image shows Ceres tonight (March 4th) with El Nath at the top left. Click on the image to get an animation of 23 x 2 minute frames (around 48 mins real time) and see if you can spot the slight motion of Ceres relative to the background stars. The field of view of this image is around 0.7 deg square, N up.
Thanks to Mike Harlow for alerting me to this appulse.