Home > Ephemeris Program, Exoplanets > 08/16/2016 – Ephemeris – Does Proxima Centauri have a planet? Also some information for southern observers about Mercury

08/16/2016 – Ephemeris – Does Proxima Centauri have a planet? Also some information for southern observers about Mercury

August 16, 2016

Ephemeris for Tuesday, August 16th.  The Sun rises at 6:46.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 59 minutes, setting at 8:46.  The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 5:53 tomorrow morning.

Proxima Centauri is the closest star to our solar system.  It is a red dwarf star, and a distant third member of the Alpha Centauri star system.  Recently the German weekly Der Spiegel announced that astronomers at the La Silla Observatory in Chile have detected a possible Earth-like planet at a distance that water may be liquid on its surface around this tiny star.  Other than this one leak, no one is talking, and the European Southern Observatory is mum on the subject.  There may be some kind of announcement at the end of the month.  If true, this means that the closest earth-like planet orbits the closest star, only four and a quarter light years away.   That’s nearly 25 trillion miles, and hundreds of years travel time with our current technology.

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

Addendum

Proxima Centauri chart

Chart showing the location of Proxima Centauri, labeled here HIP 70890. Alpha Centauri is labeled Rigel Kentaurus. Alpha Centauri is actually a catalog name in the style of Johann Bayer’s 1603 star atlas. Note also the alpha (α) Greek letter next to the star. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Note also the star labeled Agena.  That is the more distant Beta (β) Centauri also known as Hadar.

Proxima Centauri image

A section of a photograph of part of the field of view of the chart above. Credit: Wikipedia user Skatebiker.

Extra

For our southern observers:  Today Mercury reaches its greatest eastern elongation  of 27 degrees.  So it’s visible in the west with Venus and Jupiter.

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