Home > Constellations, Ephemeris Program, Nebula, Observing > 02/17/2015 – Ephemeris – There are no unicorns except in the heavens

02/17/2015 – Ephemeris – There are no unicorns except in the heavens

February 17, 2015

Ephemeris for Fat Tuesday, Tuesday, February 17th.  The sun will rise at 7:40.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 6:13.   The moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:07 tomorrow morning.

Among all the constellations in the sky of animals real and mythical, there is also a unicorn.  It’s called Monoceros, and inhabits the southeastern sky at 9 p.m. bounded by Orion on the right, Canis Major, the great dog below and Canis Minor, the little dog to the left.  Unfortunately for observers without optical aid Monoceros, though large, is devoid of any but the faintest stars.  Maybe that’s why no one sees unicorns anymore.  It has many faint stars because the Milky Way runs through it.  To the telescope it is a feast of faint nebulae or clouds of gas and dust, the birth place of stars, including the red rose of the Rosette Nebula, and the strange and tiny Hubble’s Variable Nebula.  It contains no bright stars, but it has wonders for the telescope.

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



The constellation Monoceros the unicorn. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).  Click to enlarge.

Can you see a unicorn here?  Me neither.

One thing I didn’t mention in the program is the star labeled β.  It is a triple star in telescopes.

Universe Today has a great post on Monoceros  by Tammy Plotner, who by sad coincidence passed away a few days ago.

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