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05/31/2019 – Ephemeris – Previewing June skies

May 31, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, May 31st. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 19 minutes, setting at 9:20, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:00. The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 5:13 tomorrow morning.

Let’s preview the skies of June. There’ will be a lot of Sun in June and very little night. The daylight hours will increase a bit from 15 hours and 20 minutes tomorrow to 15 hours and 34 minutes on the 21st, retreating back to 15 hours 31 minutes at month’s end. At this time of the year the sunset times for Ludington, Interlochen, Petoskey and Mackinaw City are very nearly the same. However the sunrise times are at their most divergent. With Ludington’s sunrise being 14 minutes later than Mackinaw City’s. The altitude of the sun above the southern horizon at local noon around 1:43 p.m. will hover around 68 to 69 degrees. Summer will start on the 21st at 11:54 a.m. The planet Mercury will grace our evening skies this month.

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

Addendum

June Evening Star Chart

June Evening Star Chart

Star Chart for June 2019 (11 p.m. EDT June 15, 2019). Created using my LookingUp program. Click on image to enlarge.

The planets and stars are plotted for the 15th at 11 p.m. EDT in the evening and 4 a.m. for the morning chart. These are the chart times. Note that Traverse City is located approximately 45 minutes behind our time meridian, West 75° longitude. (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 10 p.m. and 5 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.

June Morning Star Chart

June 2019 morning star chart

Star Chart for June mornings 2019 (4 a.m. EDT June 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.
  • Leaky dipper drips on Leo.
  • 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

EDT
Traverse
City
Morning twilight Evening twilight Dark night Moon
Date Astro. Nautical Nautical Astro. Start End Illum.
2019-06-01 3h43m 4h42m 22h46m 23h45m 23h45m 3h43m 0.04
2019-06-02 3h42m 4h41m 22h47m 23h47m 23h47m 3h42m 0.01
2019-06-03 3h41m 4h40m 22h49m 23h48m 23h48m 3h41m 0
2019-06-04 3h39m 4h40m 22h50m 23h50m 23h50m 3h39m 0.02
2019-06-05 3h38m 4h39m 22h51m 23h51m 23h51m 3h38m 0.07
2019-06-06 3h37m 4h38m 22h52m 23h53m 3h37m 0.15
2019-06-07 3h36m 4h38m 22h53m 23h54m 0h41m 3h36m 0.24
2019-06-08 3h35m 4h37m 22h53m 23h55m 1h23m 3h35m 0.35
2019-06-09 3h34m 4h37m 22h54m 23h57m 1h59m 3h34m 0.47
2019-06-10 3h34m 4h36m 22h55m 23h58m 2h31m 3h34m 0.59
2019-06-11 3h33m 4h36m 22h56m 23h59m 2h59m 3h33m 0.7
2019-06-12 3h32m 4h36m 22h57m 0h00m 3h26m 3h32m 0.8
2019-06-13 3h32m 4h36m 22h57m 0h01m 0.88
2019-06-14 3h32m 4h35m 22h58m 0h02m 0.95
2019-06-15 3h31m 4h35m 22h58m 0h02m 0.95
2019-06-16 3h31m 4h35m 22h59m 0h03m 0.98
2019-06-17 3h31m 4h35m 22h59m 0h04m 1
2019-06-18 3h31m 4h35m 23h00m 0h04m 0.99
2019-06-19 3h31m 4h35m 23h00m 0h05m 0.96
2019-06-20 3h31m 4h35m 23h00m 0h05m 0.91
2019-06-21 3h31m 4h36m 23h01m 0h05m 0h05m 0h12m 0.85
2019-06-22 3h31m 4h36m 23h01m 0h05m 0h05m 0h44m 0.77
2019-06-23 3h32m 4h36m 23h01m 0h06m 0h06m 1h12m 0.68
2019-06-24 3h32m 4h36m 23h01m 0h06m 0h06m 1h37m 0.59
2019-06-25 3h32m 4h37m 23h01m 0h05m 0h05m 2h01m 0.49
2019-06-26 3h33m 4h37m 23h01m 0h05m 0h05m 2h23m 0.39
2019-06-27 3h34m 4h38m 23h01m 0h05m 0h05m 2h47m 0.3
2019-06-28 3h35m 4h38m 23h01m 0h05m 0h05m 3h13m 0.21
2019-06-29 3h35m 4h39m 23h01m 0h04m 0h04m 3h35m 0.12
2019-06-30 3h36m 4h40m 23h00m 0h04m 0h04m 3h36m 0.06

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/2018/09/27/.

NASA Calendar of Planetary Events

Date       Time    Event
Jun  1 Sa          Venus: 20° W
     1 Sa  2:15 pm Moon-Venus: 3.4° N
     3 Mo  6:02 am New Moon
     5 We  8:58 am Moon North Dec.: 22.4° N
     5 We 11:05 am Moon-Mars: 1.6° N
     5 We  6:46 pm Moon Ascending Node
     7 Fr  3:19 am Moon-Beehive: 0.2° S
     7 Fr  7:21 pm Moon Perigee: 368500 km
     8 Sa  9:54 pm Venus-Pleiades: 5.1° S
    10 Mo  1:59 am First Quarter
    10 Mo 11:11 am Jupiter Opposition
    16 Su  2:50 pm Moon-Jupiter: 2.1° S
    16 Su  7:09 pm Venus-Aldebaran: 4.7° N
    17 Mo  4:31 am Full Moon
    18 Tu 11:33 am Moon South Dec.: 22.4° S
    18 Tu  1:41 pm Mercury-Mars: 0.2° N
    18 Tu  9:49 pm Moon Descending Node
    18 Tu 11:58 pm Moon-Saturn: 0.5° N
    19 We  9:06 am Mercury-Pollux: 5.4° S
    21 Fr  3:56 am Mars-Pollux: 5.5° S
    21 Fr 11:54 am Summer Solstice
    23 Su  3:50 am Moon Apogee: 404500 km
    23 Su  6:59 pm Mercury Greatest Elongation: 25.2° E
    25 Tu  5:46 am Last Quarter
    30 Su 11:06 am Moon-Aldebaran: 2.3° S
Jul  1 Mo          Venus: 12° W

All event times are given for UTC-4 hr: Eastern Daylight Saving 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

     LU                  Ephemeris of Sky Events for Interlochen/TC
     June, 2019    Local time zone: EDT
     +-----------------------------------------------------------------------+
     | DATE |  SUN     SUN  DAYLIGHT|   TWILIGHT*    |MOON  RISE OR    ILLUM |
     |      |  RISE    SET    HOURS |  END    START  |PHASE SET** TIME FRACTN|
     +=======================================================================+
     |Sat  1| 06:00a  09:21p  15:20 | 10:44p  04:37a |      Rise 05:45a    3%|
     +------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
     |Sun  2| 05:59a  09:22p  15:22 | 10:45p  04:36a |      Rise 06:22a    0%|
     |Mon  3| 05:59a  09:22p  15:23 | 10:46p  04:35a |New   Set  09:45p    0%|
     |Tue  4| 05:59a  09:23p  15:24 | 10:47p  04:35a |      Set  10:51p    3%|
     |Wed  5| 05:58a  09:24p  15:25 | 10:48p  04:34a |      Set  11:49p    8%|
     |Thu  6| 05:58a  09:25p  15:26 | 10:49p  04:33a |      Set  12:40a   16%|
     |Fri  7| 05:57a  09:25p  15:27 | 10:50p  04:33a |      Set  01:23a   25%|
     |Sat  8| 05:57a  09:26p  15:28 | 10:51p  04:32a |      Set  01:59a   36%|
     +------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
     |Sun  9| 05:57a  09:27p  15:29 | 10:52p  04:32a |      Set  02:30a   47%|
     |Mon 10| 05:57a  09:27p  15:30 | 10:53p  04:31a |F Qtr Set  02:59a   59%|
     |Tue 11| 05:56a  09:28p  15:31 | 10:53p  04:31a |      Set  03:26a   69%|
     |Wed 12| 05:56a  09:28p  15:31 | 10:54p  04:31a |      Set  03:53a   79%|
     |Thu 13| 05:56a  09:29p  15:32 | 10:55p  04:30a |      Set  04:23a   87%|
     |Fri 14| 05:56a  09:29p  15:33 | 10:55p  04:30a |      Set  04:55a   94%|
     |Sat 15| 05:56a  09:30p  15:33 | 10:56p  04:30a |      Set  05:32a   98%|
     +------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
     |Sun 16| 05:56a  09:30p  15:33 | 10:56p  04:30a |      Set  06:14a  100%|
     |Mon 17| 05:56a  09:30p  15:34 | 10:57p  04:30a |Full  Rise 09:56p  100%|
     |Tue 18| 05:56a  09:31p  15:34 | 10:57p  04:30a |      Rise 10:49p   97%|
     |Wed 19| 05:56a  09:31p  15:34 | 10:57p  04:30a |      Rise 11:34p   93%|
     |Thu 20| 05:56a  09:31p  15:34 | 10:58p  04:30a |      Rise 12:12a   87%|
     |Fri 21| 05:57a  09:32p  15:34 | 10:58p  04:30a |      Rise 12:44a   80%|
     |Sat 22| 05:57a  09:32p  15:34 | 10:58p  04:31a |      Rise 01:12a   72%|
     +------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
     |Sun 23| 05:57a  09:32p  15:34 | 10:58p  04:31a |      Rise 01:37a   63%|
     |Mon 24| 05:57a  09:32p  15:34 | 10:58p  04:31a |      Rise 02:00a   54%|
     |Tue 25| 05:58a  09:32p  15:34 | 10:58p  04:32a |L Qtr Rise 02:23a   44%|
     |Wed 26| 05:58a  09:32p  15:33 | 10:58p  04:32a |      Rise 02:47a   35%|
     |Thu 27| 05:59a  09:32p  15:33 | 10:58p  04:32a |      Rise 03:13a   26%|
     |Fri 28| 05:59a  09:32p  15:33 | 10:58p  04:33a |      Rise 03:42a   17%|
     |Sat 29| 05:59a  09:32p  15:32 | 10:58p  04:34a |      Rise 04:16a   10%|
     +------+-----------------------+----------------+-----------------------+
     |Sun 30| 06:00a  09:32p  15:31 | 10:57p  04:34a |      Rise 04:58a    4%|
     +-----------------------------------------------------------------------+
     * Nautical Twilight
     ** Moonrise or moonset, whichever occurs between sunrise and sunset

05/30/2019 – Ephemeris – Is the Beta Taurid meteor swarm hiding bigger space rocks?

May 30, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 30th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 9:19, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:01. The Moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 4:46 tomorrow morning.

A rather interesting piece of news popped up in astronomical circles last Friday. A paper accepted for publication by David Clark, Paul Wiegert and Peter Brown all of the University of Western Ontario, Canada talked about the prospects of observing the meteoroid swarm out in space that may have contained the famous Tunguska object that hit Siberia in 1908. The swarm has been shed by Encke’s Comet over time. The Earth is due to pass close to the center of the swarm this year in June, something that last happened in 1975. They cause the daytime outbound Beta Taurid shower in June and July and the inbound North and South Taurid showers in autumn.
The times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

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

Addendum

Screen shot from video by David Clark of the Beta Taurid meteor swarm. Click on image to see video.

Links:

Bad Astronomy’s take on all this: https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/could-larger-space-rocks-be-hiding-in-the-beta-taurid-meteor-stream-we-may-find-out-this

The original paper: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1905.01260.pdf

The article at Spaceweathe.com: https://spaceweatherarchive.com/2019/05/24/close-encounters-with-the-taurid-swarm/

05/29/2019 – Ephemeris – Looking at the bright planets tonight

May 29, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, May 29th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 16 minutes, setting at 9:18, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:01. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 4:21 tomorrow morning.

Let’s look at the planets for this week. Mars will be low in the west-northwestern sky this evening, in Gemini crawling up Castor’s leg. It will set at 11:42 p.m. In the morning sky we have Jupiter, in Ophiuchus, which will actually rise at 10:02 tonight in the east-southeast. Jupiter won’t be considered an evening planet until it rises before sunset, which will occur after June 10th. Saturn will be next to rise at 12:11 a.m., also in the east-southeast. It’s in Sagittarius. Both planets are easily visible in as morning twilight grows. Venus will rise 53 minutes before the Sun in the east northeast. It will remain in our morning sky, though too close to the rising Sun to be easily glimpsed. In August it will pass behind the Sun to enter the evening sky.

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

Addendum

Mars in the evening

Mars in the evening in Gemini tonight at 10:30 p.m. May 29, 2019. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and Saturn in the morning

Jupiter and Saturn at 5 a.m. May30, 2019. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

The waning Crescent Moon

The Moon, enlarged 3 times, is only 6 degrees above the eastern horizon at 5 a.m. on May 30, 2019. The inset is the binocular view. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Jupiter and Saturn

Jupiter and Saturn with the same magnification at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning May 30, 2019. Click on the image to enlarge. 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 May 29, 2019. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 30th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

05/28/2019 – Ephemeris – A new satellite phenomenon was visible last Saturday night.

May 28, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, May 28th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 14 minutes, setting at 9:17, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:02. The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:57 tomorrow morning.

Last Saturday night at the star party at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake shore we saw an amazing sight. After 10 p.m. we saw a ghostly line in the sky. It looked like a jet contrail at first, but there was no jet making it, and besides at that altitude the Sun wouldn’t be shining on it. It reminded me of the tail of Comet Hale-Bopp that graced our skies 22 years ago, But the ghostly line was moving to the northward. It dawned on us that these were the 60 Starlink satellites SpaceX launched two days before. It was the first 60 of a planned 12,000 satellites that will launch in Elon Musk’s Internet satellite venture. The satellites, each too faint to be seen with the naked eye will soon spread out along their orbit.

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

Addendum

Starling Satellite train

The train of Starlink satellites the night after launch from the Netherlands by Marco Langbroek from his video on EarthSky.com.

I went out during the writing of this week’s Ephemeris programs at 11:45 p.m. and saw three of them.  This time they went almost overhead.  There were three satellites close together in line.  According to Heavens-Above the train is really getting spread out, so I may have been seeing only some of them.  I didn’t see any fainter ones in between.  Overhead the three were quite bright.

Links:

An article about the Starlink satellite train: https://earthsky.org/space/wow-photo-video-spacex-starlink-satellite-train

Here’s a place (Heavens Above) to get predictions of the passage of the satellite train for your location: https://heavens-above.com/main.aspx.  They also have predictions for the International Space Station.

Scott Manley’s YouTube video – Will Starlink & Other Satellite Networks Ruin The Night Sky For Astronomers?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEuMFJSZmpc

YouTube video of the Starlink launch:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=riBaVeDTEWI

 

05/27/2019 – Ephemeris – The bright star Spica

May 27, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Memorial Day, Monday, May 27th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 13 minutes, setting at 9:16, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:03. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 3:34 tomorrow morning.

Just about due south at 10:30 p.m. is the bright star Spica which can be found from all the way back overhead to the Big Dipper. Follow the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper to the bright star Arcturus high in the south-southeast. Then straighten the curve of the arc to a straight spike which points to Spica the brightest star in the zodiacal constellation of Virgo the virgin. Arcturus is much brighter than Spica and has an orange tint to Spica’s bluish hue. In fact Spica is the bluest of the 21 first magnitude stars. That means that it is hot. Actually Spica is really two blue stars orbiting each other every 4 days. Spica is 250 light years away, which is reasonably close. Spica was an important star to the ancient Greeks. One temple was built, and aligned to its setting point.

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

Addendum

Finding Spica

Spica finder animation for 10:30 p.m., May 27th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

05/24/2019 – Ephemeris – Star party at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore tomorrow night

May 24, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, May 24th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 7 minutes, setting at 9:13, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:05. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 2:13 tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow evening the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will be at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for observations of the heavens in what we call a star party. The location on Saturday will be the Dune Climb. Hazy or partly cloudy skies are acceptable. The night will start at 9 p.m. with an introduction by the rangers and a twilight talk by a member of the society of what will be visible and why the Sun sets so late now. As the stars appear in the twilight telescopes will be pointed to them to see their colors and what they mean. By 10:30 the constellations will be visible enough to view the wonders they contain and the ancient stories they represent.

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

Addendum

Preparing to start the star party

Preparing to start the May star party 3 years ago at the Dune Climb. A few of the telescopes are visible including the GTAS 25″ “Emmettron” telescope at the far right in the background. Credit: Eileen Carlisle.

05/23/2019 – Ephemeris – A look at the constellation of Corona Borealis

May 23, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 23rd. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 5 minutes, setting at 9:12, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:06. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 1:37 tomorrow morning.

High in the east-southeast at 11 this evening can be seen a small nearly circular constellation of Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. It is just below Boötes, the kite shaped constellation off the handle of the Big Dipper. According to Greek myth the crown was given by the gods to the princess Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete. The crown is more like a tiara with the bright star Alphecca at the front. To the Anishinaabe people, who are natives of our region it is the Sweat Lodge. Part of what we call Hercules next to it is the Exhausted Bather, who is lying on the ground after the ceremony. The seven stones that are heated for the Sweat Lodge are the Pleiades, now too close to the Sun to be seen.

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

Addendum

Corona Borealis and Sweat Lodge

Animated Corona Borealis Finder Chart looking to the east-southeast at 11 p.m. May 23rd Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.