Archive

Archive for June, 2014

06/30/2014 – Ephemeris – The celestial snake handler

June 30, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, June 30th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 9:31.   The moon, 3 days past new, will set at 11:14 this evening.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:01.  |   The red star Antares shines in the south at 11 p.m. In the constellation of Scorpius.  In the area of sky above and a little to the left lies a large constellation of faint stars called Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer.  The constellation shape is like a large bell, which reminds me of the head, shoulders and arms of a fellow that’s holding the snake-like a weight lifter pulling up a heavy bar bell.  The serpent he’s holding is Serpens, the only two-part constellation in the heavens.  The head rises to Ophiuchus’ right and the tail extends up to the left.  In legend Ophiuchus was a great physician, educated by the god Apollo, and the centaur Chiron, also found in the stars as Sagittarius, now rising below and left of him.

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

Addendum

Ophiuchus and Serpens July 10, 2012 at 11 p.m.. Created using Stellarium.

Ophiuchus and Serpens at 11 p.m.. Created using Stellarium.

Advertisements

06/27/2014 – Ephemeris – Scorpius invades Libra

June 27, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, June 27th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 9:31.  The moon is new today, and won’t be visible.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 5:59.

One of the constellations of the Zodiac or circle of animals isn’t either animal or human.  It is Libra the Scales or balance.  It lies low in the southern sky at 11 p.m., just to the right of the rising Scorpius the scorpion.  Libra, it seems, is an afterthought, a simple diamond shape of four stars.  This year with Saturn inside.  Its two brightest stars Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi translate to the north and south claw respectively, of Scorpius to the left of it.  The Arabs, at least, seemed to view this as part of Scorpius.  The balance was perhaps to signify the equality of day and night, at the time the sun was in this part of the sky at the start of autumn, over 2000 years ago.  Nowadays the sun is one constellation west, in Virgo at the start of autumn.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Libra

Libra with Saturn this year (2014). Created using Stellarium.  Note: the named stars to the left belong to Scorpius.

06/26/2014 – Ephemeris – Draco the dragon is twisted around the pole of the sky

June 26, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, June 26th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 9:31, the latest sunset.   The moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 6:32 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 5:59.

High in the northern sky at 11 p.m. lies the twisted constellation, that of Draco the dragon.  This dragon is more like the snakelike Chinese dragon than the dinosaur like dragon of European legend.  I find it better to start at the tail of Draco, to trace him out in the stars.  Draco’s tail starts between the bowl of the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper.  The Dragon is seen in a line of stars that extends parallel to the handle of the Big Dipper before curving around the bowl of the Little Dipper then bends back toward the south.  The head of Draco is an odd box of stars near the bright star Vega, high in the east.  Though not made up of very bright stars, Draco has an easy shape to trace.

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

Addendum

Draco via Stellarium

Draco via Stellarium in approximately the same orientation as the Jamieson atlas below. You’s have to face southeast and bend over backward to see this orientation in the sky.

Draco

Draco the Dragon as drawn in Alexander Jamieson’s 1820 Celestial Atlas as printer in Men, Monsters and the Modern Universe by George Lovi and Wil Tirion, 1989, Willmann-Bell, Richmond, VA

06/25/2014 – Ephemeris – Wednesday is bright planet day here on Ephemeris

June 25, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, June 25th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 9:31.   The moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 5:41 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 5:58.

It’s Wednesday and once again time to locate the bright planets for this week.   Brilliant Jupiter will be in the west-northwestern sky in Gemini as darkness falls tonight.  It’s getting lower each night and will set at 10:51 p.m.  Reddish Mars is in Virgo in the southwest as darkness falls.  It’s 88 million miles (142 million km) away now, and will set at 2:01 a.m.  Saturn will be low in the south as darkness falls.  It’s in the faint constellation of Libra the scales this year.  It will pass due south at 10:28 p.m.  It will set at 3:30 a.m.  Saturn’s in perfect position for viewing with a small or large telescope to see those fabulous rings.  Brilliant Venus will rise in the east at 4:07 a.m. in morning twilight.

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

Addendum

Evening Planets

The Evening Planets and constellations at 10:30 p.m. June 25, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

Mars

Mars through a powerful telescope at 10:30 p.m. June 25, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

Saturn

Saturn with its moons on June 25, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

Venus rising

Venus and a glimpse of the Pleiades at 4:45 a.m. on June 26, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

Venus

Telescopic Venus on June 26, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

06/24/2014 – Ephemeris – The bright star Vega is high in the east

June 24, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, June 24th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 9:31.   The moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 4:53 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 5:58.

The bright star high in the east is Vega, one of the stars of the Summer Triangle an informal constellation called an asterism. Vega belongs to the official constellation Lyra the harp, which includes a narrow parallelogram of stars to its south. Vega is regarded by astronomers as a standard calibration star. Though a first magnitude star, its actual magnitude is 0.03. It is a type A0 pure white star, and is 27 light years away. Astronomers however got a shock in 1983 when calibrating the Infrared Astronomy Satellite (IRAS) on it: Vega showed an excess of Infrared radiation that means the star is orbited by a disk of dust, perhaps the beginnings of a planetary system. Due to the slow wobble of the earth’s axis Vega will be our pole star in 14 thousand years.

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

Addendum

The Summer Triangle July 5, 2012 at 11 p.m. Created using Stellaruim and The Gimp.

The Summer Triangle. Created using Stellarium and The Gimp.

Vega

Vega in the mid-infrared from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

06/23/2014 – Ephemeris – It’s summer, so where is the Summer Triangle?

June 23, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, June 23rd.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 9:31.   The moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 4:09 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 5:58.

Now that it’s summer it’s time to look for the Summer Triangle in the sky.    It’s seen rising in the east as it gets dark.  Highest of the three bright stars is Vega in the constellation Lyra the harp, whose body is seen in a narrow parallelogram nearby.  The second star of the triangle is Deneb lower and left of Vega, It appears dimmer than Vega because it is by far the most distant of the three.  The third star of the Summer Triangle is seen farther below and a right of Vega.  It is Altair in Aquila the eagle, and the closest.  Altair is 16.5 light years away, Vega is 27 light years while Deneb actually one of the brighter stars known, is a whopping 2600 light years away, give or take.  It’s distance is not well-known.  (24  08:54  Venus 1.3°N of Moon)

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

Addendum

The Summer Triangle July 5, 2012 at 11 p.m. Created using Stellaruim and The Gimp.

The Summer Triangle. Created using Stellarium and The Gimp.

06/20/2014 – Ephemeris – Summer is almost here!

June 20, 2014 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, June 20th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 9:31.   The moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 2:21 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 5:57.

Summer will begin at 6:52 tomorrow morning.  Great I can’t wait.  Summer is my favorite season, and it is especially welcome after the long and cold winter, and a not especially warm spring.  In the summer I move my operations to a table under a tree in the back yard, with a laptop and my radio tuned to IPR, of course.  There I conduct my research, take online teleconferences and courses and do my writing.  The summer solstice for us in the northern hemisphere is when the sun reaches its farthest north in the sky.  Around the Interlochen/Traverse City area that’s about 68.5 degrees above the southern horizon at solar noon, which is about 1:43 p.m. and staying up 15 hours and 33 minutes.

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

Addendum

Summer solstice

The earth centered on Michigan at 6:52 a.m. EDT, June 21, 2014 the moment of the summer solstice. Created using Celestia.

My summer office

My summer office