Home > Constellations, Ephemeris Program > 01/28/2019 – Ephemeris – The celestial unicorn

01/28/2019 – Ephemeris – The celestial unicorn

January 28, 2019

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.



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.


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