Home > Constellations, Ephemeris Program, Mythology > 12/23/2014 – Ephemeris – Is the constellation of Cetus a whale or a sea monster?

12/23/2014 – Ephemeris – Is the constellation of Cetus a whale or a sea monster?

December 23, 2014

Ephemeris for Tuesday, December 23rd.  The sun will rise at 8:17.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:06.   The moon, 2 days past new, will set at 7:25 this evening.

The identity of the constellation Cetus is a bit mixed up.  Officially it’s a whale, but in the story of the constellations above it, (Cassiopeia, Pegasus, Andromeda, Perseus and Cepheus) it is the monster sent to ravage the Ethiopian coast, and to whom the sacrifice of Andromeda was to stop.  Either can be seen in the stars in the south at 8 p.m.  It is a large constellation of dim stars below and left of the Great Square of Pegasus and Pisces.  The whale can be seen diving, its tail of 5 stars in a squished pentagon, is seen to the upper left.  If you see the stars differently and put the head of the sea monster where the tail of whale is the dreaded Cetus of the story appears.  One of its stars is variable and will not be visible without a telescope, it’s Mira, the wonderful.

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

Addendum

Cetus

Cetus with Pegasus and Orion displaying mythological images at 8 p.m. on December 23, 2014. Created using Stellarium.

 

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  1. richard Kuschell
    December 23, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Hello Bob, If the night sky is clear can we see comet Lovejoy. Is it high enough in our (Traverse City) sky?

    • December 23, 2014 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Richard,

      Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is still a bit low. It’s highest about midnight. However it’s heading northward rapidly. See Tomorrow’s post and January’s Stellar Sentinel Extras for more information. And thanks for reminding me.

      Merry Christmas and keep looking up

      Bob

  2. December 23, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is still a bit low. It’s highest about midnight. However it’s heading northward rapidly. See Tomorrow’s post and January’s Stellar Sentinel Extras for more information. And thanks for reminding me.

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