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Archive for January, 2019

01/31/2019 – Ephemeris – Previewing February’s skies

January 31, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 31st. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 46 minutes, setting at 5:49, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:02. The Moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 5:50 tomorrow morning.

February is the shortest month, even so the daylight hours throughout the month will be getting longer. Daylight hours will increase from 9 hours and 49 minutes tomorrow the first to 11 hours and 6 minutes on the 28th. The sunrise time will decrease from 8:02 tomorrow to 7:22 at month’s end. The sunset times will increase from 5:51 tomorrow to 6:28 on the 28th. Along with that the altitude of the sun at noon will increase from 28 degrees tomorrow to nearly 38 degrees at month’s end. Local noon, by the way for Interlochen and Traverse City is about 12:55 p.m. Mercury has just entered the evening sky and will be visible in twilight after sunset later this month.

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

Addenda

February Evening Star Chart

February Evening Star Chart

Star Chart for February 2019 (9 p.m. EST February 15, 2019). Created using my LookingUp program. Click on image to enlarge.

The planets and stars are plotted for the 15th at 9 p.m. EST in the evening and 6 a.m. for the morning chart. These are the chart times. Note that Traverse City is located approximately 45 minutes behind our time meridian. (An hour 45 minutes behind our daylight saving time meridian during EDT). To duplicate the star positions on a planisphere you may have to set it to 1 hour 45 minutes earlier than the current time.

Note the chart times of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. are for the 15th. For each week before the 15th add ½ hour (28 minutes if you’re picky). For each week after the 15th subtract ½ hour. The planet positions are updated each Wednesday on this blog. For planet positions on dates other than the 15th, check the Wednesday planet posts on this blog.

February Morning Star Chart

February Morning Star Chart

Star Chart for February mornings 2019 (6 a.m. EST February 15, 2019). Created using my LookingUp program. Click on image to enlarge.

For a list of constellation names to go with the abbreviations click here.

  • Pointer stars at the front of the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris the North Star.
  • Follow the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper to the star Arcturus, and
  • Extend like a spike to Spica,
  • The Summer Triangle is in red.

Twilight Limits, Nautical and Astronomical

Traverse City Morning twilight Evening twilight Dark night Moon
Date Astro. Nautical Nautical Astro. Start End Illum.
2019-02-01 6h22m 6h56m 18h55m 19h30m 19h30m 5h51m 0.09
2019-02-02 6h21m 6h55m 18h57m 19h31m 19h31m 6h21m 0.04
2019-02-03 6h20m 6h54m 18h58m 19h32m 19h32m 6h20m 0.01
2019-02-04 6h19m 6h53m 18h59m 19h33m 19h33m 6h19m 0
2019-02-05 6h18m 6h52m 19h01m 19h35m 19h35m 6h18m 0.01
2019-02-06 6h17m 6h51m 19h02m 19h36m 19h48m 6h17m 0.03
2019-02-07 6h16m 6h50m 19h03m 19h37m 20h48m 6h16m 0.08
2019-02-08 6h15m 6h49m 19h04m 19h38m 21h49m 6h15m 0.14
2019-02-09 6h14m 6h47m 19h06m 19h40m 22h50m 6h14m 0.21
2019-02-10 6h12m 6h46m 19h07m 19h41m 23h53m 6h12m 0.3
2019-02-11 6h11m 6h45m 19h08m 19h42m 6h11m 0.4
2019-02-12 6h10m 6h44m 19h10m 19h43m 0h57m 6h10m 0.51
2019-02-13 6h08m 6h42m 19h11m 19h45m 2h03m 6h08m 0.62
2019-02-14 6h07m 6h41m 19h12m 19h46m 3h11m 6h07m 0.73
2019-02-15 6h06m 6h40m 19h13m 19h47m 4h18m 6h06m 0.83
2019-02-16 6h04m 6h38m 19h15m 19h48m 5h22m 6h04m 0.91
2019-02-17 6h03m 6h37m 19h16m 19h50m 0.97
2019-02-18 6h02m 6h35m 19h17m 19h51m 0.97
2019-02-19 6h00m 6h34m 19h19m 19h52m 1
2019-02-20 5h59m 6h32m 19h20m 19h54m 0.99
2019-02-21 5h57m 6h31m 19h21m 19h55m 19h55m 21h05m 0.96
2019-02-22 5h55m 6h29m 19h22m 19h56m 19h56m 22h19m 0.9
2019-02-23 5h54m 6h28m 19h24m 19h57m 19h57m 23h31m 0.81
2019-02-24 5h52m 6h26m 19h25m 19h59m 19h59m 0.71
2019-02-25 5h51m 6h24m 19h26m 20h00m 20h00m 0h41m 0.61
2019-02-26 5h49m 6h23m 19h28m 20h01m 20h01m 1h47m 0.5
2019-02-27 5h47m 6h21m 19h29m 20h03m 20h03m 2h49m 0.4
2019-02-28 5h46m 6h20m 19h30m 20h04m 20h04m 3h46m 0.3

Twilight calendar was generated using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

See my blog post: Twilight Zone for the definitions of the different periods of twilight here: https://bobmoler.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/

NASA Calendar of Planetary Events

Date Local Time Event
Feb 1 Fr Venus: 45.1° W
1 Fr 7:48 PM Moon South Dec.: 21.5° S
2 Sa 2:18 AM Moon-Saturn: 0.7° S
3 Su 1:35 AM Moon Descending Node
4 Mo 4:04 PM New Moon
5 Tu 4:26 AM Moon Apogee: 406600 km
12 Tu 5:26 PM First Quarter
13 We 10:29 PM Moon-Aldebaran: 1.7° S
16 Sa 4:56 AM Moon North Dec.: 21.6° N
17 Su 4:42 AM Moon Ascending Node
17 Su 10:05 PM Moon-Beehive: 0.6° N
18 Mo 9:16 AM Venus-Saturn: 1.1° N
19 Tu 4:06 AM Moon Perigee: 356800 km
19 Tu 8:08 AM Moon-Regulus: 2.4° S
19 Tu 10:53 AM Full Moon
26 Tu 6:28 AM Last Quarter
26 Tu 7:59 PM Mercury Greatest Elongation: 18.1° E
27 We 9:17 AM Moon-Jupiter: 2.5° S
Mar 1 Fr Venus 40.8° W

All event times are given for UTC-5:00: Eastern Standard or Daylight Time

Sky Events Calendar by Fred Espenak and Sumit Dutta (NASA’s GSFC),
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SKYCAL/SKYCAL.html

If you go to the above site you can print out a list like the above for the entire year or calendar pages for your time zone.

Sun and Moon Rising and Setting Events

Ephemeris of Sky Events for Interlochen/TC

February, 2019 – Local time zone: EST
Date Sun Twilight* Moon Illum
Rise Set Hours End Start Phase R/S** Time Fractn
Fri 1 08:02a 05:51p 09:49 06:57p 06:56a Rise 06:40a 7%
Sat 2 08:00a 05:52p 09:51 06:58p 06:55a Rise 07:24a 3%
Sun 3 07:59a 05:54p 09:54 06:59p 06:53a Rise 08:01a 1%
Mon 4 07:58a 05:55p 09:56 07:01p 06:52a New Set 05:48p 0%
Tue 5 07:57a 05:56p 09:59 07:02p 06:51a Set 06:47p 1%
Wed 6 07:56a 05:58p 10:02 07:03p 06:50a Set 07:47p 4%
Thu 7 07:54a 05:59p 10:04 07:04p 06:49a Set 08:48p 9%
Fri 8 07:53a 06:01p 10:07 07:06p 06:48a Set 09:48p 15%
Sat 9 07:52a 06:02p 10:10 07:07p 06:47a Set 10:50p 22%
Sun 10 07:50a 06:03p 10:13 07:08p 06:45a Set 11:52p 31%
Mon 11 07:49a 06:05p 10:16 07:10p 06:44a Set 12:57a 40%
Tue 12 07:47a 06:06p 10:18 07:11p 06:43a F Qtr Set 02:03a 51%
Wed 13 07:46a 06:08p 10:21 07:12p 06:41a Set 03:10a 61%
Thu 14 07:44a 06:09p 10:24 07:14p 06:40a Set 04:18a 72%
Fri 15 07:43a 06:11p 10:27 07:15p 06:39a Set 05:21a 81%
Sat 16 07:41a 06:12p 10:30 07:16p 06:37a Set 06:19a 90%
Sun 17 07:40a 06:13p 10:33 07:17p 06:36a Set 07:09a 96%
Mon 18 07:38a 06:15p 10:36 07:19p 06:34a Set 07:52a 99%
Tue 19 07:37a 06:16p 10:39 07:20p 06:33a Full Rise 06:28p 100%
Wed 20 07:35a 06:18p 10:42 07:21p 06:32a Rise 07:47p 97%
Thu 21 07:34a 06:19p 10:45 07:23p 06:30a Rise 09:05p 92%
Fri 22 07:32a 06:20p 10:48 07:24p 06:28a Rise 10:19p 84%
Sat 23 07:30a 06:22p 10:51 07:25p 06:27a Rise 11:31p 75%
Sun 24 07:29a 06:23p 10:54 07:26p 06:25a Rise 12:40a 65%
Mon 25 07:27a 06:24p 10:57 07:28p 06:24a Rise 01:46a 55%
Tue 26 07:25a 06:26p 11:00 07:29p 06:22a L Qtr Rise 02:49a 45%
Wed 27 07:24a 06:27p 11:03 07:30p 06:20a Rise 03:46a 35%
Thu 28 07:22a 06:28p 11:06 07:32p 06:19a Rise 04:38a 26%
* Nautical Twilight
** Moonrise or moonset, whichever occurs between sunset and sunrise

Created using my LookingUp for DOS output as HTML.

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01/30/2019 – Ephemeris – Looking for the bright planets for this week

January 30, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, January 30th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 44 minutes, setting at 5:48, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:03. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 4:55 tomorrow morning.

Let’s look at the planets for this week. Our only evening planet Mars will be in the southwestern sky this evening and will set at 11:53 p.m. It’s too far away to see much detail in a small telescope. In the morning sky we have Jupiter which will rise tomorrow at 4:39 a.m. It is second to Venus in brightness, and now is west of Venus. In small telescopes up to four of Jupiter’s moons are visible. The waning crescent Moon will be between the two planets tomorrow morning. Venus will rise at 5:08 a.m. tomorrow. In small telescopes it is a featureless slightly gibbous moon shape. Its phase will now grow more toward full as its size shrinks as it continues its long journey around and behind the Sun.

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

Addendum

Evening planet

Mars and the evening constellations tonight at 8 p.m. January 30, 2019. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Morning Moon and planets

Venus, the Moon and Jupiter in the morning at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning January 31, 2019. Saturn will rise at 6:37 tomorrow morning into twilight.  It will make our morning planet view next week. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon

The waning crescent Moon as it should appear tomorrow morning, January 31, 2019, with earthshine in binoculars. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic planets

Venus and Jupiter with the same magnification at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning January 31, 2019. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on January 30, 2019. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 31st. Mercury does not show on these charts because it is south of the Sun, having passed superior conjunction on the 29th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

01/29/2019 – Ephemeris – The rabbit that got away

January 29, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 29th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 41 minutes, setting at 5:46, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:04. The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:55 tomorrow morning.

Orion, the central winter constellation is seen in the south at 9 p.m. He is a hunter, but he’s preoccupied with the charge of Taurus the bull from the upper right. At Orion’s feet, and unnoticed by him is the small constellation of Lepus the hare. It’s very hard to see a rabbit in its eight dim stars: however, I do see a rabbit’s head ears and shoulders. A misshapen box is the head and face of this critter facing to the left. His ears extend upwards from the upper right star of the box, and the bend forward a bit. Two stars to the right of the box and a bit farther apart hint at the front part of the body. In Lepus telescopes can find M79, a distant globular star cluster, one of the few of these compact star clusters visible in the winter sky.

Addendum

Lepus

An animation showing the stars, constellations and artwork of Lepus, Orion and Taurus. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

My view of Lepus the hare.

My view of Lepus the hare. Star field from Cartes du Ciel. Desert Cottontail drawing from Arizona-Senora Desert Museum website. Superimposed with GIMP.

01/28/2019 – Ephemeris – The celestial unicorn

January 28, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, January 28th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 39 minutes, setting at 5:45, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:05. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 2:52 tomorrow morning.

Within a triangle bounded by stars Betelgeuse in Orion, Sirius in Canis Major and Procyon in Canis Minor, called the Winter Triangle appears a nearly starless patch of sky to the naked eye. In here is the constellation Monoceros, the unicorn. Unfortunately for observers without optical aid Monoceros, though large, is devoid of any but the faintest stars. Maybe that’s why no one sees unicorns anymore. It has many faint stars because the Milky Way runs through it. To the telescope it is a feast of faint nebulae or clouds of gas and dust, the birth place of stars, including the red rose of the Rosette Nebula, and the strange and tiny Hubble’s Variable Nebula. It also contains beautiful telescopic triple star system, Beta (β) Monocerotis.

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

Addendum

Monoceros

Monoceros finder chart animation. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Rosette Nebula

Rosette Nebula in the infrared from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech

Hubble's Variable Nebula

Hubble’s Variable Nebula photographed appropriately enough by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/ESA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI).

Monoceros DSO finder chart

Looking at some faint objects in Monoceros. NGC 2239 is the star cluster in the center of the Rosette Nebula. The nebula itself is extremely faint. It shows in photographs, but I’ve never seen it visually. The green circle shows Beta Monocerotis, the triple star. All these stars are extremely blue-white hot. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Beta Monocerotis

Telescopic Beta Monocerotis. William Hershel, discoverer of Uranus, said that it was “One of the most beautiful sights in the heavens.” Credit: F. Ringwald, Fresno State.

 

01/25/2019 – Ephemeris – Let’s find Orion’s hunting dogs

January 25, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, January 25th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 5:41, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:08. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 11:27 this evening.

The great winter constellation or star group Orion the Hunter, is located in the south-southeastern sky at 9 p.m. His elongated rectangle of a torso is tilting toward the vertical. In the center of the rectangle are three stars in a line that make his belt. As a hunter, especially one of old, he has two hunting dogs. The larger, Canis Major can be found by following the three belt stars of Orion down and to the left. There lies the brilliant star called Sirius, also known as the Dog Star. It’s in the heart of a stick figure dog low in the southeast facing Orion that appears to be begging. Canis Minor is just two stars found by extending Orion’s shoulder stars eastward where we find bright Procyon, the little dog star.

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

Addendum

Orion and his hunting dogs

Orion and his hunting dogs with pointers as seen at 9 p.m. in late January . Created using Stellarium.

01/24/2019 – Ephemeris – Taurus the bull

January 24, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, January 24th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 29 minutes, setting at 5:40, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:09. The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 10:14 this evening.

Midway up the sky in the southeast at 8 p.m. is the constellation of the giant hunter Orion. Above him, to the right is Taurus the bull. His face is a letter V shape of stars lying on its side, the star cluster Hyades, with the bright orange-red star Aldebaran at one tip of the V as its angry blood-shot eye, but actually about half way between us and the cluster. Orion is depicted in the sky facing, with club in one hand and a shield in the other, the charging Taurus. The Pleiades star cluster is in his shoulder. Taurus in Greek mythology was the form the god Zeus when he carried off the maiden Europa. Europa’s still with him as the intriguing satellite orbiting Zeus’ Roman equivalent the planet Jupiter.

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

Addendum

Taurus and Orion

Taurus and Europa at 8 p.m. January 24, 2019. Created using Stellarium.

Rape of Europa

The Rape of Europa by Titian. According to the story Zeus as a bull abducted Europa and swam to Crete, where she became the first queen of that island, and bore him three sons. Other paintings of this subject are by Rembrandt and de Troy. This painting belongs to the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston, MA. Click on the image to enlarge.

Jupiter's moon Europa

Jupiter’s satellite Europa, slightly smaller than the Earth’s moon, has a fresh ice surface with very little cratering. The ice floats on a deep water ocean supposedly containing more water than all the Earth’s oceans. Click on the image to enlarge. This is a place NASA will send a spacecraft to look for the chemistry of life. Credit NASA/JPL, Ted Stryk.

01/23/2019 – Ephemeris – Let’s check out where the bright planets are for this week

January 23, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, January 23rd. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 27 minutes, setting at 5:38, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:10. The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 8:59 this evening.

Let’s look at the planets for this week. Our only evening planet Mars will be in the southwestern sky this evening and will set at 11:55 p.m. It’s too far away to see much detail in a small telescope. In the morning sky we have Venus rising at 4:59 a.m. tomorrow and is prominent in the southeastern sky as our morning star. In small telescopes it is a featureless slight gibbous moon shape. Its phase will now grow more gibbous as its size shrinks as it continues its long journey around and behind the Sun. Jupiter will rise tomorrow at 5:01 a.m. It is second to Venus in brightness, and is west of Venus, but south, so Venus still rises first by 2 minutes. They will appear nearly side by side as they rise.

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

Addendum

Evening planet

Mars with the evening stars and constellations tonight at 8 p.m. January 23, 2019. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets

Venus, Jupiter and the Moon in the morning at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning January 24, 2019. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon

The waning gibbous Moon as it should appear tomorrow morning with binoculars. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic planets

Venus and Jupiter with the same magnification at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning January 24, 2019. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on January 23, 2019. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 24th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.