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07/04/2014 – Ephemeris – Find patriotic red, white and blue stars

July 4, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Independence Day, Friday, July 4th.  Today the sun will be up for 15 hours and 27 minutes, setting at 9:30.   The moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 1:03 tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow the sun will rise at 6:03.

On this patriotic day let’s look for some red, white, and blue stars.  Red is easy, the red star Antares is seen in the south at 11 p.m.  Mars, the red planet, in the southwest, can be added even though it’s not technically a star.  White is easy too, the official white calibration star Vega high in the east at 11 p.m.  The blue star is really blue-white.  The brightest of these out at 11 p.m. is Spica, low in the southwest.  The color is best seen in binoculars.  Star colors are quite subtle, and are an indicator of the temperature of their outer gaseous layers.  The temperature of a stars outer layers, in order of their increasing temperatures, red, white and blue, is not related to the temperature in their cores.  Of these three the coolest on the outside, Antares is really the hottest inside, using helium as fuel.

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

Addendum

Red white and blue stars

Red white and blue stars for Independence Day at 11 p.m. on July 4, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

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