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05/10/2018 – Ephemeris – Berenice’s Hair

May 10, 2018

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 10th. The Sun rises at 6:20. It’ll be up for 14 hours and 38 minutes, setting at 8:58. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 4:42 tomorrow morning.

High in the southeast at 10 p.m. is a tiny and faint constellation of Coma Berenices, or Berenice’s hair. In it are lots of faint stars arrayed to look like several strands of hair. The whole group will fit in the field of a pair of binoculars, which will also show many more stars. The hank of hair was supposed to belong to Berenice, Queen of Egypt, of the 3rd century BCE. Coma Berenices is the second closest star cluster to us at only 250 light years away, after the Hyades, the face of Taurus the bull now setting in the west. It’s in an odd spot for a galactic star cluster, that’s supposed to lie in the plane of the Milky Way. It actually lies at the galactic pole. That’s an illusion because it’s so close to us. It’s still really in the plane of the Milky Way.

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

Addendum

Coma Berenices finder chart

Coma Berenices finder chart for 10 p.m. May 10, 2018. Created using Stellarium.

Coma Berenices binocular view

Coma Berenices as it might look in a pair of binoculars. Telescopes are too powerful. Created using Stellarium.

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