Home > Constellations, Ephemeris Program, Mythology, stars > 07/12/2012 – Ephemeris – The constellation Lyra the harp

07/12/2012 – Ephemeris – The constellation Lyra the harp

July 12, 2012

Thursday, July 12th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 9:26.   The moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 1:50 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:10.

High in the east at 11 p.m. can be found a bright star called Vega just above a small, narrow, but very distinctive parallelogram of stars.  They are the stars of the constellation Lyra the harp.  Vega, the 5th brightest night time star, is one of the twenty one brightest stars, called first magnitude stars.  The harp, according to Greek mythology, was invented by the god Hermes.  The form of the harp in the sky, is as he had invented it: by stretching strings across a tortoise shell.  Hermes gave it to his half-brother Apollo, who in turn gave it to the great musician Orpheus.  In binoculars, near Vega, two stars appear together.  They barely appear to the unaided eye as a single star, designated Epsilon Lyrae.

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

Addendum

Summer Triangle at 07-12-12 at 11 p.m. Created using Stellarium.

Summer Triangle and the constellation Lyra at 07-12-12 at 11 p.m. Created using Stellarium.

Closeup on Vega and Epsilon Lyrae.  Created using Stellarium.

Closeup on Vega and Epsilon Lyrae. Created using Stellarium.

ε1 Lyrae is one of the stars of Epsilon Lyrae.  The pair can be split better than this image with binoculars.  Looking at the two with a good telescope and over 100 power can split each component into two more stars.  We amateur astronomers call it the “Double-Double Star”  Note too that Zeta (ζ) Lyrae is also a double star that can be split with a low power telescope.

 

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