Archive

Archive for February 5, 2019

02/05/2019 – Ephemeris – The Great Orion Nebula

February 5, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, February 5th. Today the Sun will be up for 9 hours and 59 minutes, setting at 5:56, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:56. The Moon, 1 day past new, will set at 6:47 this evening.

The closest star nursery to us is the Great Orion Nebula, 1,344 light years away give or take 20 light years. A light year is about 6 trillion miles, if you want to pace it out. It’s located in the constellation Orion’s sword that hangs below his belt. In as little as a pair of binoculars it shines by emission and reflection of the light of a clutch of four stars at its heart, that astronomers have called the Trapezium. These extremely hot baby stars are not destined to live long. Unlike the Sun’s 10 billion year life time these stars lifespan will be measured in millions of years. Yet do not mourn for them, Even now stars are forming in their dusty cocoons in the nebula. The Trapezium stars death will provide the material for new stars.

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

Addendum

The lower part of Orion with the Great Orion Nebula. Created using Stellarium.

The lower part of Orion with the Great Orion Nebula. Created using Stellarium.

The Great Orion Nebula (M42) long exposure photograph

The Great Orion Nebula (M42) long exposure photograph by Scott Anttila. Includes all the sword stars.

Inner part of the Great Orion Nebula. Image by Scott Anttila

The Trapezium stars in the inner part of the Great Orion Nebula. Image by Scott Anttila