As dusk fades to dark on Thursday, 17 January, observers in the British Isles and Western Europe can see the rising 10-day-old Moon less than 1 degree away from first-magnitude star Aldebaran in the constellation of Taurus.
The pairing of the waxing gibbous Moon and Aldebaran will be close enough for them to be seen in the same field of view of telescopes at magnifications of 35× or less, but it is in binoculars where the full beauty of the Moon’s stellar backdrop will become apparent.
Observers with low power, wide-field binoculars will also see the V-shaped Hyades open star cluster in the same field of view. Note that the star field is strewn with interesting wide double stars, particularly in the vicinity of naked-eye pair θ1 and θ2 Tauri.
While it may seem that Aldebaran is a member of the Hyades, it is merely a line-of-sight effect: the orange giant star and its dim red dwarf companion are 65 light-years away, whereas the 300 to 400 stars that comprise the cluster lie some 152 light-years from Earth.