10/24/2014 -Ephemeris – Venus will pass superior conjunction with the Sun tomorrow

October 24, 2014 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Friday, October 24th.  The sun will rise at 8:09.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 6:43.   The moon, 1 day past new, will set at 7:20 this evening.

Tomorrow’s event will not be visible.  Venus will pass behind the Sun, though not directly behind it.  Venus can be viewed from the SOHO spacecraft go to http://spaceweather.com/, at the bottom click the link for Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, Click on the Sun Now, then LASCO C2.  The event is called a superior conjunction, meaning the Venus is beyond the Sun.  It will be moving from west of the Sun to the east, from the morning side of the Sun to the evening side.  Venus has been in the morning sky since January 11th.  So it is a morning planet for about 9 months and moves to the evening sky for another 9 months.  In a month or so, Venus will appear low in the southwestern sky shortly after sunset.  It will be our super bright evening star next spring.

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

Addendum

LASCO C2

Venus approaching superior conjunction 10/20/2014 to 10/23/2014. Credit NASA – SOHO LASCO C2.

10/23/2014 – Ephemeris – Partial solar eclipse tonight for most of the US

October 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, October 23rd.  The sun will rise at 8:08.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 36 minutes, setting at 6:44.  The moon is new today, and won’t be visible.

This evening there will be a partial solar eclipse, in which we will see only the first part before the sun sets.  The eclipse will be visible for all but the extreme eastern part of the country.  It will be a partial eclipse for all who can see it because the core of the Moon’s shadow will miss the Earth to the north.  For the Interlochen Public Radio listening area (Northwestern Lower Michigan) the eclipse will star a couple of minutes before or after 5:32 p.m. and will end at sunset around 6:44 p.m.  The low position of the sun make a lack of cloud cover necessary to be able to see it.  Proper approved solar filters, or a projection method are necessary to view the eclipse.  Do Not Look Directly at the Sun!  The NMC Observatory south of Traverse City will be open, weather permitting starting at 5 p.m.  Also the Platte River Point location at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will also be available.

An added attraction for this eclipse is the appearance of the largest sunspot group to appear on the sun in years.

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

Addendum

Solar Eclipse coverage

Coverage of the partial solar eclipse of October 23, 2014. Credit: NASA.

Setting partially eclipsed sun

The setting partially eclipsed sun from Traverse City. Created using Stellarium.

Pinhole projection

Partially eclipsed sun using a series of pinholes projected on a reasonably white surface.

Big Sunspot

The Sun at 1:30 a.m. 10/23/2014 with large sunspot group AR 2192. Credit NASA – Solar Dynamics Observatory.

This baby gave off a X Class flare yesterday (10/22/2014).  Could be more in store.  Maybe we’ll see an aurora later this week.

10/22/2014 – Ephemeris – The bright planets this week plus a preview of Thursday’s partial solar eclipse

October 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Wednesday, October 22nd.  The sun will rise at 8:06.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 39 minutes, setting at 6:46.   The moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:46 tomorrow morning.

Tonight Saturn will be low in the west-southwest before it sets at 7:56 p.m.  Mars will be low in the southwest at 9 p.m. and will set at 9:40 p.m.  The sky will stay devoid of bright planets until Jupiter rises at 1:56 a.m. tomorrow morning.  Jupiter is visible this morning in twilight in the south-southeast along with the brighter stars of winter visible, a preview of colder evenings to come.  Tomorrow evening, weather permitting, we will get to see part of a partial solar eclipse.  The exact times depend on your location, though shouldn’t deviate from these by a few minutes for the Interlochen Public Radio listening area (northwestern lower Michigan).  The eclipse will start around 5:32 p.m. and will continue till sunset around 6:44 p.m.  Use proper eye protection or use pinhole projection.

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

Addendum

Evening Planets

Saturn and Mars at 7:30 p.m. on October 22, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and the morning stars

Jupiter and the morning constellations at 6:30 a.m., October 23, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Jupiter

Jupiter through a telescope at 6:30 a.m. October 23, 2014. The unnamed moon is Io. Created using Stellarium.

Solar Eclipse coverage

Coverage of the partial solar eclipse of October 23, 2014. Credit: NASA.  Click image for more information.

Setting partially eclipsed sun

The setting partially eclipsed sun from Traverse City. Created using Stellarium.

Pinhole projection

Partially eclipsed sun using a series of pinholes projected on a reasonably white surface.

10/21/2014 – Ephemeris – There’s a star party tonight at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

October 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, October 21st.  The sun will rise at 8:05.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 42 minutes, setting at 6:47.   The moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 6:44 tomorrow morning.

Tonight if it’s clear the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will join the rangers at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for their 44th anniversary celebration with a star party  at Stop number 3, the Dunes Overlook on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.  The event will run from 8 to 10 p.m. featuring the wonders still visible among the northern summer stars along with those appearing in the autumn skies.  To get a heads up on the status of the star party call 231-326-4700, extension. 5005, for a message after 4 p.m.  The Orionid meteor shower is also at peak now with the meteors seeming to come from between the constellations Orion and Gemini.  The Orionids are visible from 11 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.  The Orionids will be visible in diminishing numbers through the first week in November.

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

Addendum

Views from the anniversary party in 2010.  Credit:  Eileen Carlisle.

Views from the anniversary star party in 2010. Credit: Eileen Carlisle.

Views from the anniversary party in 2010.  Credit:  Eileen Carlisle.

Views from the anniversary star party in 2010. Credit: Eileen Carlisle.

Views from the anniversary party in 2010.  Credit:  Eileen Carlisle.

Views from the anniversary star party in 2010. Credit: Eileen Carlisle.

10/20/2014 – Ephemeris – Looking for the Pleiades or Seven Sisters

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Oct 20.  This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Monday, October 20th.  The sun will rise at 8:04.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 45 minutes, setting at 6:49.   The moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 5:43 tomorrow morning.

A marvelous member of the autumn skies can be found low in the east northeast after 9 in the evening.  It is the famous star cluster called the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters.  I might also add the ‘Tiny Dipper’.  Many people can spot a tiny dipper shape in its six or seven stars, and mistake it for the Little Dipper.  As nearsighted as I am, though corrected, I’ve never been able to see more than a few stars and a bit of fuzz.  However with binoculars, even I can see over a hundred stars appear along with the dipper shape of the brightest.  The fuzz I saw was unresolved stars, but in photographs the Pleiades actually contain wisps of the gas they are passing through currently.  In Greek mythology the sisters were daughters of the god Atlas.

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

Addendum

Pleiades finder chart

Looking to the east northeast at the Pleiades: 9 p.m.. Created using Stellarium.

The Pleiades, about what you'd see in binoculars.

The Pleiades, about what you’d see in binoculars.

10/17/2014 – Ephmeris – There’s a star party Saturday at the NMC Rogers Observatory

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, October 17th.  The sun will rise at 8:00.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 6:54.   The moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 2:47 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow night the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will host a Star Party at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. On tap, if it’s clear will be the wonders of both the summer and the autumn skies,  The summer Milky Way is still visible moving off to the southwest with its star clusters and nebulae.  The autumn sky has star clusters too, including the famous Pleiades, best seen in binoculars or telescope finders, and the wonderful Double Cluster.  The autumn sky is also host to the closest spiral galaxy to us the Great Andromeda Galaxy, which will get a whole lot closer in 4 billion years.  Come on out to the observatory on Birmley Road, about 2 miles south of South Airport Road.

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

Addendum

The Pleiades, about what you'd see in binoculars.

The Pleiades, about what you’d see in binoculars.

Double Cluster as it would be seen in a small telescope.

Double Cluster as it would be seen in a small telescope.

Great Andromeda Galaxy

The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31) as seen in binoculars. Visually even in a telescope the hub of this galaxy is all that is seen. However it also can be seen with the naked eye.  However a telescope can also show its two satellite galaxies.

 

10/16/2014 – Ephemeris – Comet Siding Spring will buzz Mars this Sunday

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, October 16th.  The sun will rise at 7:59.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 6:56.   The moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 1:50 tomorrow morning.

Sunday afternoon our time the comet C/2013 A1 also known a Siding Spring will pass 86 thousand miles (140 thousand km) from Mars.  The three NASA Mars satellites, Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Maven plus the two rovers Opportunity and Curiosity; the European Mars Express and the latest to arrive, India’s Mars Orbital Mission or MOM will all be studying the comet.  Protection of the satellites is key.  The satellite’s orbits have all been phased so as to be behind the planet from the expected possible debris of the comet when Mars passes its closest to the comet’s orbit 101 minutes after the comet itself passes.  Early next week we may have some spectacular photos of Comet Siding Spring.

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

Addendum

Siding Springs Orbit

Two views of Comet Siding Springs orbit past Mars. Credit: NASA.

Planned science observations

Planned science observations of Comet Siding Spring by NASA spacecraft and rovers at Mars. Credit: NASA.

Siding Spring Links:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 247 other followers