Archive for August 26, 2014

08/26/2014 – Ephemeris – The Great Rift

August 26, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, August 26th.  The sun rises at 6:57.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 31 minutes, setting at 8:29.   The moon, 1 day past new, will set at 8:45 this evening.

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 part of the Milky Way ends southwest of the Aquila the eagle.  This 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 great dark cloud that obscures the light of the stars behind it.  Sometimes binoculars can be used to find the edges of the clouds of the rift, as stars numbers drop off suddenly.  This is especially easy to see in Aquila.

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


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

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