Archive for June 19, 2014

06/19/2014 – Ephemeris – The constellation Hercules

June 19, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, June 19th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 9:30.   The moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 1:50 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 5:57.

Orion, the hard luck Greek hunter gets a splashy constellation in the winter sky, but the greatest hero of all, Hercules, gets a dim group of stars on the border between the spring and summer stars.  At 11 p.m. Hercules is high in the southeast.  It is located above and right of the bright star, Vega in the east.  Hercules’ central feature is a keystone shaped box of stars, called the Keystone, which represents the old boy’s shorts.  From each top corner extend lines of stars that are his legs, from the bottom stars, the rest of his torso and arms extend.  So in one final indignity he’s upside down in our sky. Some see him crouched down, club upraised holding the Hydra about to throttle it.  [For those with a telescope it contains the beautiful globular star cluster M13.]

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


The constellation Hercules and his neighbors.

The constellation Hercules and his neighbors. Created with Stellarium.

On Tuesday I mentioned that for the Anishinabek people around the Great Lakes, Corona Borealis is a Sweat Lodge.  Incidentally the Pleiades, only seen in the sky at the same time as Corona Borealis on autumn evenings on opposite ends of the sky, are the seven stones of the Sweat Lodge ceremony.  The stars of Hercules represents one poor fellow, who couldn’t stand the heat of the sweat lodge and is splayed on the snow near by.


M13, the Great Globular Star Cluster in Hercules. Credit: Scott Anttila