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10/23/2017 – Ephemeris – The loneliest star in the sky

October 23, 2017

Ephemeris for Monday, October 23rd. The Sun will rise at 8:08. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 35 minutes, setting at 6:44. The Moon, half way from new to first quarter, will set at 9:27 this evening.

There’s a bright star that appears for only seven and a half hours on autumn evenings from northern Michigan. It’s appearance, low in the south at around 10:30 p.m. tonight, is a clear indication of the autumn season. The star’s name is Fomalhaut, which means fish’s mouth. That’s fitting because it’s in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus, the southern fish. At our latitude it’s kind of the fish that got away, because Fomalhaut appears to be quite alone low in the sky. The faintness of the constellation’s other stars and location close to the horizon make the dim stars hard to spot. The earth’s thick atmosphere near the horizon reduces their brightness by a factor of two or more, so Fomalhaut, one of the brightest stars in the sky, keeps a lonely vigil in the south.

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


Fomalhaut in the south at 8 p.m. on November 15, 2012. Created using Stellarium.

Fomalhaut in the south at 9:30 p.m. on October 23, 2017. Created using Stellarium.


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