01/18/2019 – Ephemeris – There will be a total eclipse of the Moon Sunday night the 20th

January 18, 2019 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Friday, January 18th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 5:31, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:14. The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 6:39 tomorrow morning.

There will be a lunar eclipse late this Sunday evening and into early Monday morning. For what it’s worth it’s also a super-moon. Starting around 10 p.m. a distinct duskiness will appear on the moon’s lower left side, as that part of the Moon is in the deepest part of the Earth’s outer penumbral shadow. At about 10:34 p.m. Sunday evening the lower left edge of the Moon will begin to enter the Earth’s inner shadow the umbra starting the partial phase of the eclipse. The Moon will be totally immersed in the shadow by 11:41 p.m. and will probably appear a coppery color. Totality will end at 12:43 a.m. Monday morning when the left edge of the Moon peeks out into sunlight. This final partial phase will end at 1:51 a.m.

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

Addendum

Total Lunar Eclipse

The Moon’s passage through the Earth’s shadow January 20-21, 2019. Credit Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC. Clicking on the above image will link to the official NASA pdf of this eclipse.

Eclipse times

UT times are for January 21st. EST times are for the nearest minute.

Note that at contacts P1 and P4 nothing will be visible out of the ordinary.  As the Moon moves to the U1 contact the left edge of the Moon will appear noticeably dusky as more and more sunlight is cut off.

The reddish color of totally eclipsed Moon is due to all the sunrises and sunsets happening at that time on the Earth.  The Earth’s atmosphere bends the Sun’s light into its shadow.

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01/17/2019 – Ephemeris – There will be a total eclipse of the Moon Sunday night the 20th

January 17, 2019 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 17th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 15 minutes, setting at 5:30, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:14. The Moon, 3 days past first quarter, will set at 5:31 tomorrow morning.

There will be an eclipse of the Moon late this Sunday evening and into early Monday morning. For what it’s worth it’s also a so-called super moon dropping down to 222 thousand miles (357,300 km) from the Earth about 3 p.m. Monday, 15 hours after mid-eclipse. At about 10:34 p.m. Sunday night the lower left edge of the Moon will begin to enter the Earth’s inner shadow the umbra starting the partial phase of the eclipse. The Moon will be totally immersed in the shadow by 11:41 p.m. and will probably appear a coppery color. Totality will end at 12:43 a.m. Monday morning when the left edge of the Moon peeks out into sunlight. This begins the ending partial phase which itself will end at 1:51 a.m.

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

Addendum

Total Lunar Eclipse

The Moon’s passage through the Earth’s shadow January 20-21, 2019. Credit Fred Espenak, NASA/GSFC. Clicking on the above image will link to the official NASA pdf of this eclipse.

Eclipse times

UT times are for January 21st. which starts at 7 p.m. EST the 20th.  EST times are for the nearest minute.

Note that at contacts P1 and P4 nothing will be visible out of the ordinary.  As the Moon moves to the U1 contact the left edge of the Moon will appear noticeably dusky as more and more sunlight is cut off.

The reddish color of totally eclipsed Moon is due to all the sunrises and sunsets happening at that time on the Earth.  The Earth’s atmosphere bends the Sun’s light into its shadow.

01/16/2019 – Ephemeris – Let’s check out the whereabouts of the bright planets

January 16, 2019 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Wednesday, January 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 13 minutes, setting at 5:29, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:15. The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 4:20 tomorrow morning.

Let’s look at the planets for this week. Our only evening planet Mars will be in the southwestern sky this evening and will set at 11:57 p.m. It’s too far away to see much detail in a small telescope. In the morning sky we have Venus rising at 4:49 a.m. tomorrow and is prominent in the southeastern sky as our morning star. In small telescopes it is a featureless slight gibbous moon shape. Its phase will now grow more gibbous as its size shrinks as it continues its long journey around and behind the Sun. Jupiter will rise tomorrow at 5:22 a.m. It is second to Venus in brightness, but second to no planet in size. Binoculars can see some of its biggest moons. Telescopes can see all four.

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

Addendum

Evening Mars and Moon

Mars and the Moon with the evening stars tonight at 8 p.m. January 16, 2019. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon

The waxing gibbous Moon as it should appear tonight in binoculars. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets

Venus and Jupiter in the morning at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning January 17, 2019. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets

Venus and Jupiter with the same magnification at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning January 17, 2019. 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 January 16, 2019. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 17th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

 

01/15/2019 – Ephemeris – Welcome 8:19 a.m. listeners

January 15, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 15th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 11 minutes, setting at 5:28, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:16. The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 3:11 tomorrow morning.

Welcome to the 8:19 a.m. listeners to this program. Due to the two-hour span from the 6:19 and 8:19 airings it was thought to always give you event times in advance, which is why I’m giving tomorrow’s sunrise times. Don’t worry tomorrow’s sunrise time will never be more than 2 minutes before or after today’s. Right now, sunrise times are retreating by a half-minute a day. It’s faster in spring and fall. For more information see my blog: bobmoler.wordpress.com. Transcripts of the program are there with illustrations and additional information. And today a way to create your own sunrise and sunset calendar.

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

Addendum

The times of rising and setting of celestial objects is accurate for only one spot on the Earth.  In the case of the times I give, it’s for my house.  There’s a good reason for it.  I live approximately half way between Interlochen and Traverse City.  In the early days I interpolated from astronomical tables in the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Observers Handbook.  I preferred it to the Naval Observatory’s Astronomical Almanac, which was more expensive.  Anyway I had a relatively flat horizon everywhere but north, so if I climbed on the roof I could check out and verify the rising and setting times.   Note that the times assume a flat sea horizon.

About accurate times:  At my latitude celestial objects rise and set one minute later for each 12 1/3 miles (19.85 km) you are west of me, or a good landmark would be Traverse City West Senior High School.  For every 12 1/3 miles east of there rising and setting events would be earlier by a minute.  The correction for latitude or north and south isn’t that simple. See the illustration below:

Calendar excerpts

These are snippets of calendars for three locations that are in a straight line from south-southwest to north-northeast in the IPR listening area. A line drawn perpendicular to it to the west-northwest is to the Sun’s setting point. Thus the setting times for all three locations are the same. However their rising times are the most divergent, as are the daylight hours.

On my Ephemeris website, not to be confused with the blog that you are now reading, I have rise and set calendars for:  Cadillac, Interlochen/Traverse City (Source for times on the Ephemeris program), Ludington, Mackinaw City, Petoskey, Eagle Harbor – Keweenaw Peninsula, Houghton Lake, and Earth’s Equator at the Prime Meridian.  Go Here:  http://ephemeris.bjmoler.org/calendar.htm.

If you’d like these times for a different location go to the Complete Sun and Moon Data for One Day, or Sun or Moon Rise/Set Table for One Year from the United States Naval Observatory (USNO). It calculates sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, and twilight  for locations in the US and other locations world-wide.  Note that these do not follow the changes to and from Daylight Saving Time.

 

01/14/2019 – Ephemeris – New Horizons returned first images of Ultima Thule

January 14, 2019 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, January 14th. The Sun will rise at 8:17. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 9 minutes, setting at 5:26. The Moon, at first quarter today, will set at 2:04 tomorrow morning.

On January 1st, just after midnight eastern time the New Horizons spacecraft made its closest pass of the small Kuiper Belt Object 2014 Mu69, nicknamed Ultima Thule. At just about 10:30 that morning the expected phone home came back over 4 billion miles, and 6 hours travel time from a 15 watt transmitter on the spacecraft. New Horizons was in perfect health an its data recorders were full. It will take 20 months at a thousand bits per second to relay all that information back to Earth. Though we’ll get better pictures to come, Ultima Thule is a contact binary of two nearly spherical bodies that collided very gently. It looks like a snowman of reddish-brown snow. It fits the silhouette made by it passing in front of a star back in 2017.

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

Addendum

First closeup of Ultima Thule

Ultima Thule on approach combing a low resolution color image with the high resolution monochromatic image shows the body in almost true color. Credit NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Occultation

Pre-encounter occultation attempts of Ultima Thule. Continued caption from the Vatican Observatory Foundation Blog: “The colored lines mark the path of a star as seen from different telescopes on each day; the blank spaces on those lines indicate the few seconds when MU69 blocked the light from the star. Credit: NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI / James Tuttle Keane”

Note from the image:  The term “astrometry” (pronounced as-trom-e-try) is the science of measuring the precise positions and motions of celestial bodies.

The New Horizons spacecraft went into solar conjunction from January 4th to the 9th.  Meaning it was too close to the direction of the Sun to send of receive data due to the Sun’s radio interference.  On the night of the 9th I noticed that on the DNS-Now website that the big antenna at Canberra Australia was in contact with it.  So more data is flowing down!

01/11/2019 – Ephemeris – The bright star in Orion’s knee: Rigel

January 11, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, January 11th. The Sun will rise at 8:18. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 4 minutes, setting at 5:23. The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 10:55 this evening.

Yesterday I talked about the star Betelgeuse the bright red star in the top left of Orion’s upright rectangle. Orion is seen in the southeast at 9 in the evening. The blue-white star in Orion’s opposite corner is usually brighter. It is Rigel whose longer Arabic name of which Rigel is the first part means “Left Leg of the Giant”. Rigel is a giant itself, actually a super giant star, which is more a measure of its mass than its size, that of 23 solar masses. Its surface temperature is more than twice as hot as the sun. It is 120 thousand times as bright as the sun and 100 times its diameter. Its distance is around 860 light years. Those with telescopes might be able to spot a close companion star to Rigel, just at the edge of the bright arc light image of Rigel itself.

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

Addendum

Orion's brightest stars

Orion’s brightest stars with their names for 9 p.m. January 7, 2019. Click on the image to make Orion a giant hunter. Created using Stellarium..

Rigel A & B

Rigel with its companion star as photographed through a telescope. No attribution. Source: http://washedoutastronomy.com/content/urban-orion?page=1

01/10/2018 – Ephemeris – Betelgeuse the red giant star in the giant hunter Orion’s shoulder

January 10, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 10th. The Sun will rise at 8:18. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 3 minutes, setting at 5:22. The Moon, 4 days before first quarter, will set at 9:55 this evening.

The bright red star at the upper left corner of the constellation Orion, high in the southeast at 9 p.m. is Betelgeuse. The name is a contraction of an Arabic phrase that means “Armpit of the Central One”. Betelgeuse is a huge star with a diameter four times that of the earth’s orbit of the sun. It is throwing of gas and creating a nebula around itself. It’s distance from us isn’t accurately known, since it doesn’t have a companion star. It’s about 640 light years away, give or take 148 light years or so. Betelgeuse is about 18 times the mass of the sun and 140 thousand times brighter. It is in the latter stages of its short life,of 10 million year so far. Within another million years or so it will probably explode in a supernova.

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

Addendum

Orion's brightest stars

Orion’s brightest stars with their names for 9 p.m. January 7, 2019. Click on the image to make Orion a giant hunter. Created using Stellarium..

Betelgeuse disk

This is the disk of the star Betelgeuse in Orion. It is not an image from an optical telescope of an image created in submillimeter microwaves by the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)/E. O’Gorman/P. Kervella

Betelgeuse and its nebula. From ESO's Very Large Telescope.

Betelgeuse (inset) and its nebula. From ESO’s Very Large Telescope.