12/19/2016 – Ephemeris – OK kids, do I have to turn this chariot around
Ephemeris for Monday, December 19th. The Sun will rise at 8:16. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:04. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 11:44 this evening.
The constellation Auriga the charioteer is half way up the sky in the east at 8 p.m. It is a pentagon of stars, with the brilliant star Capella at one of its corners. Capella represents a she goat he’s carrying. A narrow triangle of stars nearby Capella are her kids, an informal constellation or asterism. Within and near that pentagon, binoculars and telescopes will find several star clusters, groups of hundreds of stars born in the clump we still see them in. These star clusters will appear as fuzzy spots in binoculars. One called M38 is near the center of the pentagon. Another, M36 is below it. Still another star cluster, M37, is farther below still. The M designations come from Charles Messier who two centuries ago ran into them while looking for comets.
Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.