09/25/2018 – Ephemeris – The harvest moon effect

September 25, 2018 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, September 25th. The Sun will rise at 7:33. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 1 minute, setting at 7:34. The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 8:17 this evening.

The full, or nearly full moon, just rising, looks like a large orange pumpkin. The color, like the red of the sunset is caused by the scattering out of blue light by the atmosphere. It can happen at any full moon, not just the Harvest Moon, which was officially yesterday. What the Moon around the Harvest Moon does do is rise only a little later each evening. This helped the farmers in earlier times extend daylight to bring in the crops. On average the moon rises or sets 50 minutes later each night. However when the Moon is in the part of the sky where it is moving northward as well as eastward, then it rises only a little later each night. Tomorrow’s Moon will rise only 27 minutes later than it will this evening.

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

Addendum

Harvest moon effect 2018
The harvest moon effect 2018 showing the shallow path of the Moon near moonrise and the intervals between them for 5 consecutive dates. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).
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09/24/2018 – Ephemeris – The harvest moon and the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

September 24, 2018 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Monday, September 24th. The Sun will rise at 7:32. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 4 minutes, setting at 7:36. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 7:51 this evening.

Tonight at 10:53 p.m. the Moon will be full. And since it’s only two days past the autumnal equinox, this makes it the Harvest Moon. This full moon also marks the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival to honor the Moon and the story of Chang’e a mortal woman to took an elixir and flew off to the Moon and became a goddess. Another story revolves around the Jade Rabbit pounding Medicine. I talked about the figure of a rabbit seen on the face of the Moon last Monday. He is a companion to Chang’e, and has a mortar on the Moon with him. He pounds out the medicine that makes the inhabitants of the sky immortal. The Chinese lunar probes are named Chang’e. Chang’e 3 landed on the Moon in 2013 and sent out a lunar rover named Yutu , the Jade Rabbit.

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

Addendum

The Jade Rabbit
The Jade Rabbit on the Moon. The more complete title is Jade Rabbit pounding medicine (in the mortar at his feet.
Chang'e flying to the Moon
Chang’e flying to the Moon. Unknown source.

09/21/2018 – Ephemeris – Twilight talk and star, actually planet, party tonight in Thompsonville

September 21, 2018 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Friday, September 21st. The Sun will rise at 7:28. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 13 minutes, setting at 7:42. The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 4:44 tomorrow morning.

Tonight members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will hold a twilight talk and a star party at the Betsie Valley District Library in Thompsonville. It starts at 7 p.m. with a talk about how the Moon came to be and the features that will be visible tonight by yours truly. Where did the Moon come from? That mystery has baffled astronomers for ages. The rocks the Apollo astronauts brought back from the Moon offer clues to a possible answer. After which the Moon, Mars and Saturn will be visible. If cloudy, the talk will go on as scheduled, though the observing part of the evening will be replaced with a look at the skies via computer projection and a preview of the autumn season in the skies.

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

09/20/2018 – Autumn will fall on us Saturday night

September 20, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, September 20th. The Sun will rise at 7:27. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 16 minutes, setting at 7:43. The Moon, half way from first quarter to full, will set at 3:44 tomorrow morning.

Welcome to the last few days of summer. The weather has stayed summery thus far through September. The Sun will reach the autumnal equinox point in the sky at 9:54 Saturday evening. At that moment the Sun will cross the celestial equator, a projection of the Earth’s equator, heading southward. All locations on the Earth except two will experience 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. Well they would if the Earth didn’t have an atmosphere and sunset and sunrise were defined differently. The two locations that don’t experience equal night, which is what equinox means, are the north pole where the Sun will be setting and the south pole where the Sun will be rising. For us in the northern hemisphere daylight hours will be shorter and the Sun will peak lower in the south each day until the December solstice.

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

Sun's path through the sky on the equinox
The Sun’s path through the sky on the equinox day from Traverse City, MI.  Local noon, when the Sun is due south, is 1:35 p.m. EDT.   Created using my LookingUp program.

09/19/2018 – Ephemeris – Wednesday is bright planet day on Ephemeris

September 19, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Talk Like a Pirate Day, Wednesday, September 19th. The Sun will rise at 7:26. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 19 minutes, setting at 7:45. The Moon, 3 days past first quarter, will set at 2:47 tomorrow morning.

Let’s look at the bright planets for this week. Four of them are visible in the evening sky. The brilliant Venus will be visible in the western twilight from about 8 p.m. until it sets at 8:40 p.m. Jupiter will be in the southwest as it gets dark. It is only outshone by Venus, and the Moon. The big planet will set at 9:40 p.m. Saturn will start the evening low in the southern sky and will stay relatively low, above the Teapot of Sagittarius. It will be due south at 7:59 p.m. and will set at 12:24 a.m. Mars will be low in the south-southeast as the skies darken tonight. and is now 49.5 million miles (79.7 million km) away. Mars will be due south at 10:09 p.m., and it will set at 2:27 a.m.

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

Addendum

Evening planets
The evening planets at 8:15 p.m. September 19, 2018. Click on image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.
Binocular Moon
The gibbous Moon as it should appear tonight in binoculars. Created using Stellarium.
Telescopic planets
Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars with the same magnification at 8:30 p.m. September 19, 2018. Yes, your eyes don’t deceive you, Venus is larger than Jupiter. Venus is 39.0 ” (seconds of arc) in diameter, while Jupiter is 33.3″. Venus is approaching us, while Jupiter is being left behind by the Earth. Mars is also shown enlarged. The global dust storm is abating, so the albedo features are visible to be seen. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).
Planets and the Moon on a single night
Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on September 19, 2018. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 20th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

09/18/2018 – Ephemeris – Moon and planet party tomorrow night

September 18, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, September 18th. The Sun will rise at 7:25. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 7:47. The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 1:53 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow evening the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will set up their telescopes at the Traverse Area District Library Central Library on Woodmere Avenue from 7 to 8:30 p.m. weather permitting for a star party, though it won’t actually feature stars. It will feature the Moon in its gibbous phase and the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars after 7:30 p.m. The evening will start with a twilight talk by yours truly about the Moon. Also Mars is showing some features now that it is still relatively close to the Earth at 49 and a half million miles away, and the global dust storm on the planet has subsided. On the face of Mars tomorrow night is the large formation Syrtis Major, sounds nice, but it means the Great Swamp.

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

09/17/2018 – Ephemeris – The Moon Tonight and the Jade Rabbit

September 17, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, September 17th. The Sun will rise at 7:24. It’ll be up for 12 hours and 25 minutes, setting at 7:49. The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 1:03 tomorrow morning.

Now is a good time to point that small telescope or binoculars toward the Moon. The gray seas on the right side of the moon depict the neck, head and ears of the Jade Rabbit. It’s curled up body is on the night side of the Moon to the left. The rabbit is upside down as we see him with the naked eye or binoculars. The Sea of Serenity is the upper part of his body, the head is the Sea of Tranquility. A bay south of Tranquility and the Sea of Nectar is one ear and the Sea of Fertility is the other ear. The Jade Rabbit is related to the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival which occurs at our Harvest Moon. It’s on September 24th this year. Another amateur astronomer and myself brought telescopes to the local festival last year to view the Jade Rabbit on the Moon.

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

Addendum

The Moon tonight
The Moon tonight, September 17, 208 at 9 p.m., with the head of the Jade Rabbit. Created using Virtual Moon Atlas
The Jade Rabbit
The Jade Rabbit on the Moon. The more complete title is Jade Rabbit pounding medicine (in the mortar at his feet.  From Wikipedia source is Zeimus.