Home > Ephemeris Program, Milky Way, Observing > 09/02/2013 – Ephemeris – The Milky Way’s Great Rift

09/02/2013 – Ephemeris – The Milky Way’s Great Rift

September 2, 2013

Ephemeris for Labor Day, Monday, September 2nd.  The sun will rise at 7:06.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 10 minutes, setting at 8:16.   The moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 5:19 tomorrow morning.

High overhead the Milky Way is seen passing through the Summer Triangle of three bright stars.  Here we find the Milky Way split into two sections.  The split starts in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan or Northern Cross very high in the east.  The western branch of the Milky Way ends in the south.  The dark dividing feature is called the Great Rift.  Despite the lack of stars seen there, it doesn’t mean that there are fewer stars there than in the brighter patches of the Milky Way.  The rift is a number of overlapping clouds of dust and gas about 300 light years away that obscure the light of the stars behind them.  Sometimes binoculars can be used to find the edges of the clouds of the rift, as stars numbers drop off suddenly.  This is especially easily seen in the constellation of Aquila.

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

Addendum

The Great Rift in the Milky Way. Created using Stellarium.

The Great Rift in the Milky Way. Created using Stellarium.

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