07/30/2014 – Ephemeris – Wednesday is classic planet day on Ephemeris

July 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Wednesday, July 30th.  The sun rises at 6:26.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 43 minutes, setting at 9:10.   The moon, half way from new to first quarter, will set at 10:40 this evening.

It’s Wednesday and once again time to look at the bright planets for this week.  Reddish Mars is in Virgo in the southwest as darkness falls.  It’s 109 million miles (176 million km) away now, over twice as far as it was last April, and will set at 12:17 a.m.  Saturn will be low in the south-southwest as darkness falls, in the faint constellation of Libra the scales.  It will set at 1:11 a.m.  Saturn’s in perfect position for viewing with a small or large telescopes to see those fabulous rings and its large moon Titan.  Somewhat larger telescopes can spot some smaller moons closer in.  Brilliant Venus will rise in the east northeast

Evening Planets

The Moon, Mars and Saturn at 10 p.m. on July 30, 2014. The bright star right of Mars is Spica, and the bright star left of Saturn is Antares.  Created using Stellarium.

Moon

The Moon as seen in binoculars at 10 p.m. on July 30, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

Saturn

Saturn and its moons on the evening of July 30, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

Venus in the morning

Venus and the winter constellations rising at 5:30 a.m. on July 31, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

at 4:33 a.m. in morning twilight.  Mercury will rise at 5:36 and be nearly impossible to spot below Venus.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

 

07/29/2014 – Ephemeris – The celestial Teapot

July 29, 2014 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, July 29th.  The sun rises at 6:25.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 45 minutes, setting at 9:11.   The moon, 3 days past new, will set at 10:14 this evening.

The Milky Way runs from north to south through the heavens at 11 p.m. You’ll notice that the Milky Way is brighter and broader just above the horizon in the south.  In that glow in the south is a star pattern that looks like a stout little teapot, with a bright stream of the Milky Way rising from the spout, which faces the west. This pattern of stars is the major part of the constellation called Sagittarius.  According to Greek mythology Sagittarius is a centaur with a bow and arrow poised to shoot Scorpius the scorpion to the right.  This centaur is called Chiron, the most learned of the breed, centaurs usually being a rowdy bunch.  The center of the pin wheel of our Milky Way galaxy lies hidden beyond the stars and clouds above the spout of the teapot.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Sagittarius and Scorpius

Sagittarius and Scorpius. Created using Stellarium.

Deep sky objects in Scutum & Sagittarius

Binocular and telescope deep sky objects in Scutum and Sagittarius. Created using Stellarium.

Location of the center of the Milky Way and the Teapot of Sagittarius.

Location of the center of the Milky Way and the Teapot of Sagittarius.

07/28/2014 – Ephemeris – One meteor shower is at peak and another is ramping up.

July 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Monday, July 28th.  The sun rises at 6:24.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 9:12.   The moon, 2 days past new, will set at 9:46 this evening.

We have a couple of meteor showers of note coming up.  The first is the Southern Delta Aquarids which will peak on the 30th.  The radiant point for these meteors will rise around midnight in the southeast.  Their numbers and their brightness are not very great.  The Perseid meteor shower will have the misfortune to coincide with the full moon on August 12th and 13th, drowning out all but the brightest meteors.  However the Perseids have a long run up to their peak, so their numbers will grow after the moon sets until the moon sets in morning twilight.  The Perseid radiant is circumpolar for Northern Michigan, meaning it never sets, so some Perseid meteors can always be seen at night.  Their radiant will be in the northeastern sky in the evening.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

 

South Delta Aquarids

Approximate Radiant of the South Delta Aquarid meteor shower. The radiant does move over the several weeks of the shower to the east. Created using my LookinUp program.

Perceid Radiant

The Perseid meteor shower radiant a about 2 a,m, during the period of the shower. Created using my LookingUp program.

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes sun & star parties Status – July 26, 2014, 1:30 p.m. EDT

July 26, 2014 Leave a comment

As of 2:30 p.m.

I talked with Marie and It’s a GO for this afternoon and evening!  Have fun.  Wish I wuz there.

As of 1:30 p.m.

According to the Weather Underground animation maps of clouds it looks like you’ll be in and out of clouds or a while.   The Clear Sky Chart for the nearby Lanphier Observatory shows clear skies starting most of the afternoon and into the evening.  I expect a call from ranger Marie about 3 to discuss things,  but it’s looking good!

As of 12:20 a.m.

The Weather Channel App for Empire shows partly cloudy starting the about the time the solar viewing portion starts (4 p.m.) and clearing up from their.  The Clear Sky Chart for the nearby Lanphier Observatory shows clear skies starting at 4 p.m.  So it looks like a GO!  However… Stay tuned.

07/25/2014 – Ephemeris – Tomorrow’s viewing event at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

July 25, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, July 25th.  The sun rises at 6:21.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 9:15.   The moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 6:17 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will be at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for observations of the Sun, planets and the rest of the heavens.  Sleeping Bear  The venue on Saturday will be on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive at the Dunes Overlook, Stop #3 clouds permitting.  Hazy or partly cloudy skies are acceptable. There will be observation of the Sun from 4 to 6 p.m. and viewing of the night sky from 9 to 11 p.m.    For the solar part of the afternoon the park rangers have neat models of the sun and its prominences.  The planets visible will be Mars and Saturn, and by 10:30 the constellations will be visible to view the wonders they contain and the ancient stories they represent.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Photo 1

Looking through the 25 inch Dobsonian telescope at Stop #3. This was in October, so it maybe warmer in July. Credit: Eileen Carlisle.

Photo 2

One of the other telescopes at the Stop #3 event in October a few years ago. Credit: Eileen Carlisle.

07/24/2014 – Ephemeris – A look at Altair the third star of the Summer Triangle

July 24, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, July 24th.  The sun rises at 6:20.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 9:17.   The moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 5:21 tomorrow morning.

The Summer Triangle Is high in the east to southeast sky in the evening. The southernmost star of the Summer Triangle is Altair, in the southeast.  Altair is the closest of the three stars at a distance of 16.7 light years away. One light year is nearly 6 trillion miles, that’s 6 followed by 12 zeros. Altair is nearly 11 times the brightness of the sun. If seen at Altair’s distance, the sun would only be as bright as one of the two stars that flank it in our sky. What is rather different about Altair is its rapid rotation. While it’s almost twice the sun’s diameter, it rotates once in only 9 hours, and would show a decidedly squashed appearance if seen close up. Our sun’s a slow poke, taking nearly a month to rotate just once.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

The constellations Lyra, Cygnus and Aquila

Deneb with the other stars and constellations in the Summer Triangle. Created using Stellarium.

Oblate Altair

False-color image of the rapidly rotating star Altair, made with the MIRC imager on the CHARA array on Mt. Wilson. Credit: Ming Zhao, University of Michigan

07/23/2014 – Ephemeris – It’s Wednesday. Do you know where the bright planets are?

July 23, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, July 23rd.  The sun rises at 6:19.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 58 minutes, setting at 9:18.   The moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 4:28 tomorrow morning.

It’s Wednesday and once again time to locate the bright planets for this week.  Reddish Mars is in Virgo in the southwest as darkness falls.  It’s 105 million miles (169 million km) away now, nearly 3 times farther away than it was last April, and will set at 12:39 a.m.  Saturn will be low in the south-southwest as darkness falls, in the faint constellation of Libra the scales.  It will set at 1:38 a.m.  Saturn’s in perfect position for viewing with a small or large telescopes to see those fabulous rings and its large moon Titan.  Somewhat larger telescopes can spot some smaller moons closer in.  Brilliant Venus will rise in the east at 4:22 a.m. in morning twilight.  Mercury will rise at 4:46 and be barely visible below Venus.  The crescent moon will be right of Venus tomorrow morning.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Evening planets

The evening planets Mars and Saturn with the zodiacal constellations at 10:30 p.m. on July 23, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

Saturn

Saturn through a telescope. In small telescopes of the moons only Titan will be visible. July 23, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

 

Morning Planets

Venus, Mercury, and the crescent Moon at 5:30 a.m. on July 24, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

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