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Archive for July, 2017

07/31/2017 – Ephemeris – Only 3 weeks to the eclipse (E – 21 days)

July 31, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, July 31st. The Sun rises at 6:28. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 40 minutes, setting at 9:08. The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 1:46 tomorrow morning.

Today is E minus 21 days. E stands for Eclipse, the Great American Eclipse that is. August 21st is the day the shadow of the Moon will completely cover the United States and most of North America. The path where the Moon will completely block out the face of the Sun, called the path of totality crosses the country from parts of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, to South Carolina. The path of totality is only 90 miles wide at most, and 600 miles or more from northern Michigan. From here the eclipse will start shortly before 1 p.m. and end around 3:40 p.m. The official viewing spot where there will be guides from the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will the public help view the eclipse will be at the Sleeping Bear Dunes Dune Climb.

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

Addendum

Eclipse map

All 50 states will see some part of the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse. The face of the Sun will be totally covered by the Moon in the narrow band called the path of totality. Credit: NASA.

 

07/28/2017 – Ephemeris – A Sun ‘n Star party tomorrow at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

July 28, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, July 28th. The Sun rises at 6:24. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 9:12. The Moon, 2 days before first quarter, will set at 12:18 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow afternoon and evening will be what we call a Sun & Star Party at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This event will be at the Dune Climb. From 4 to 6 p.m., the Sun will be featured using two types of telescopes, one showing the sun’s photosphere in what we call white light, and another showing the chromosphere above it in the light of hydrogen giving a completely different view. At 6 p.m. Professor Jerry Dobek of Northwestern Michigan College and the college’s Rogers Observatory will be at the Visitors Center in Empire talking about dark skies and how to promote sensible lighting. Starting at 9 p.m. will be a star party, actually really a planet party, viewing the Jupiter early, plus Saturn, and the Moon.

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

Categories: Uncategorized

07/27/2017 – Ephemeris – Two meteor showers, one peaking another ramping up

July 27, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, July 27th. The Sun rises at 6:23. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 9:13. The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 11:50 this evening.

We are in the season for meteor showers. Today the South Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower will reach peak. This is a not very active shower where the meteors will seem to come from low in the southeastern sky after midnight. The radiant will rotate to the south by 5 a.m. The moon won’t bother it for the next few days. The number of meteors seen will be under 20 per hour. This long-lasting shower will still add a few meteors when the famous Perseid meteor shower begin to appear, which is around now. These meteors will seem to come from the northeastern part of the sky, and will reach peak for us in the evening hours of August 12th. On that night the Moon will brighten the sky after 11:30 p.m. So for the next two weeks both shower meteors can be seen.

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

Addendum

Two meteor showers

The sky at 1 a.m. tomorrow morning, July 28, 2017 showing the South Delta Aquariid (DAqR) and Perseid (PerR) meteor radiants. Created using my LookingUp program.

07/26/2017 – Ephemeris – Let’s check out the bright planets for this week

July 26, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Wednesday, July 26th. The Sun rises at 6:22. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 51 minutes, setting at 9:14. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 11:20 this evening.

Let’s take our weekly look at the bright planets. Jupiter is sinking in the west-southwest as it gets dark in the evening. The bright blue-white star Spica, which pales in comparison to Jupiter, is seen left of it. In even the smallest telescopes Jupiter’s four largest moons can be seen. They shift positions from night to night. Jupiter will set at 12:06 a.m. Saturn can now be seen in the south as evening as twilight fades. The reddish star Antares is off to the right of Saturn. Saturn’s rings are spectacular in telescopes. Saturn will set at 3:17 a.m. In the morning sky, brilliant Venus will rise at 3:25 a.m. and be visible until about quarter to 6 tomorrow morning. Mars is in conjunction with the Sun today, that is it’s almost directly behind the Sun, For the last week and the next, no commands will be sent to the orbiters and rovers on Mars due to the radio interference of the Sun.

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

Addendum

Evening planets

Jupiter and Saturn with the southern summer constellations and the crescent Moon at 10:30 p.m., July 26, 2017. Created using Stellarium. Click on image to enlarge.

Binocular Moon

The Moon as it might be seen in binoculars showing also Earth shine at 10:30 p.m. July 26, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and its moons

Jupiter and its moons at 10:30 p.m. July 26, 2017. The Great Red Spot will cross the planet’s central meridian at 11:39 p.m. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Saturn and its moons

Saturn and its brightest moons overnight July 26/27, 2017. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Venus in the morning

Venus with the stars of autumn at 5 a.m. July 27, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Venus

Venus as it might be seen through a telescope at 5 a.m. July 27, 2017. This is displayed at a larger scale/magnification than the Jupiter or Saturn images above. Created using Stellarium.

Planets and Moon on a single night

Planets at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on July 26, 2017. The night ends on the left with sunrise on July 27. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

07/25/2017 – Ephemeris – Why do solar eclipses happen?

July 25, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, July 25th. The Sun rises at 6:21. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 9:15. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 10:48 this evening.

We have a day less than 4 weeks before the Great American Total Solar Eclipse on August 21st will occur. Solar eclipses occur at new moon, when the moon is aligned so its shadow falls on the Earth. It doesn’t happen every new moon because the Moon is a long ways away, and its orbit is tipped some 5 degrees from the Earth’s orbit of the Sun, so usually the Moon is north or south of the Sun at new moon. About one in every 6 new moons produces an eclipse. They occur when the Moon is near the crossing point of the two orbital planes, called nodes. The point where the Moon is passing the node in northward direction is called the ascending node, and 180 degrees around the orbit there is the descending node, but you have to be in the right spot to see an eclipse.

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

Addendum

Anatomy of an eclipse

What happens to create a total solar eclipse. Note the Sun’ distance as being 400 times the distance of the Moon. The Sun is also 400 times the Moon’s diameter, so they appear nearly the same size from the Earth. Credit NASA and the Eclipse2017.NASA.gov website.

07/24/2017 – Ephemeris – The celestial scorpion

July 24, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, July 24th. The Sun rises at 6:20. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 9:16. The Moon, 1 day past new, will set at 10:12 this evening.

Crawling just above the southern horizon at 11 p.m. is the zodiacal constellation of Scorpius the scorpion. His heart is the red giant star Antares. Its facing the west or right with a short arc of three stars as its head. His body and tail drop to the left and scrape the horizon before curving up to the critter’s poisonous stinger of two stars. It really makes a great scorpion. One story of the scorpion concerns Orion the hunter the great winter constellation. In that story Orion was killed by the sting of a scorpion. Therefore Orion and Scorpius are never seen in the sky at the same time. That is certainly true around here and for the Greeks, whose legend it is. However if one travels far enough south that is no longer true.

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

Addendum

Scorpius

Scorpius finder chart for 10:30 p.m., July 24, 2017. Created using Stellarium, which has a bug in the newest version and is also showing Ophiuchus.

07/21/2017 – Ephemeris – There’s an astronomy event tomorrow night

July 21, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, July 21st. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 2 minutes, setting at 9:19, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:18. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 5:28 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow, Saturday, the 22nd, there, will be viewing of the summer starry skies at the Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory starting at 9 p.m. While starting before sunset, if it’s clear Jupiter should be spotted before 10 p.m. The planet Saturn and its rings will also be featured. By 10:30 the sky should be dark enough to spot some of the wonders among the stars, like star clusters, and nebulae that are the either the birth places of stars or the expelled remnants of dying stars. The Milky Way takes over the dark sky, it is its wonders that we see. The Observatory is located south of Traverse City on Birmley road. Take Garfield Road two traffic lights south of South Airport Road to turn right at Birmley Road.

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