05/24/2016 – Ephemeris – Follow the spike to Spica
Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 24th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 9 minutes, setting at 9:14, and will rise tomorrow at 6:04. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 11:35 this evening.
Just about due south at 11 p.m. is the bright star Spica which can be found from all the way back overhead to the Big Dipper. Follow the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper to the bright star Arcturus high in the south, southeast. Then straighten the curve of the arc to a straight spike which points to Spica. Arcturus is much brighter than Spica and has an orange tint to Spica’s bluish hue. In fact Spica is the bluest of the 21 first magnitude stars. That means that it is hot. Actually Spica is really two blue stars orbiting each other in 4 days. Spica is 250 light years away, which is reasonably close. Spica was an important star to the ancients. One temple was built, and aligned to its setting point.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.