Home > Conjunction, Ephemeris Program, Nebula > 02/21/2014 – Ephemeris – Some nebulae in Orion

02/21/2014 – Ephemeris – Some nebulae in Orion

February 21, 2014

Ephemeris for Friday, February 21st.  The sun will rise at 7:33.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 46 minutes, setting at 6:19.   The moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 1:31 tomorrow morning.

With the moon out of the sky, it’s a good time to get those binoculars or small telescope out to view at least one nebula in the constellation Orion the hunter and maybe even more.  Orion is in the south with those belt stars lie in a straight line.  Below the belt are three fainter stars, vertically arranged: Orion’s sword.  In binoculars each of those stars are multiples.  Around what looks like a center star there is a haze, which is the Great Orion Nebula, the nearest star forming region to us at around 1,400 light years away.  Some of its gasses envelop the stars that make up the top star of the sword.  Orion hosts the famous Horse head Nebula, which unfortunately can only be seen in photographs, It is right below the left star of the belt.

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


Orion's Nebulae

Orion’s Nebulae in the southern part of the constellation as displayed by Stellarium.

A couple of nebulae are seen here that are not in the text above.  M78 is a small nebula north of the belt star Alnitak.  It is visible in a telescope. The Witch Head Nebula, another large nebula, shining by the reflected light of Rigel.  It’s officially in the neighboring constellation of Eridanus, and I believe strictly a photographic nebula.  The witch head is best seen if the image is turned upside down.

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