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11/14/2017 – Ephemeris – The constellation of Perseus the hero

November 14, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, November 14th. The Sun will rise at 7:38. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 37 minutes, setting at 5:15. The Moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 4:29 tomorrow morning.

About half way up from the east northeastern horizon to the zenith at 9 p.m. and below the letter W shaped constellation of Cassiopeia the queen is Perseus the hero. It’s kind of an odd shape for a hero, To me it looks like a maybe the cartoon road runner running along the road. To those who’s imagination doesn’t run to Loony Tunes, its shape is also like the Greek letter pi. It’s two brightest stars are Mirfak and Algol the demon star. Look at the area around Mirfak with binoculars and you will see a large group of stars just below naked eye visibility. It’s called the Alpha Persei association. That because Mirfak is Alpha Persei. The group is about 557 light years away, which means, is quite close, but farther away than the Pleiades, below and right of them.

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

Addendum

Perseus with Cassiopeia and Andromeda in the northeast at 9 p.m. October 20, 2016. Created using Stellarium and GIMP

Perseus with Cassiopeia and Andromeda in the northeast at 9 p.m.  Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

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11/13/2017 – Ephemeris – Close conjunction of Venus and Jupiter is visible this morning

November 13, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, November 13th. The Sun will rise at 7:36. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 39 minutes, setting at 5:16. The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:26 tomorrow morning.

This morning the planets Venus and Jupiter will appear a bit less than the moon apart after rising at 6:22 a.m. Venus is heading back to the Sun, actually around the back of the Sun. Jupiter is separating itself from the Sun. The velocity of a planet in its orbit decreases the farther from the Sun it is. This was discovered by Johannes Kepler back in he 17th century. Venus is closer to the Sun than the Earth, so after it passed the Earth back on March 25th passing between us and the Sun. It moved ahead of us reaching its greatest western separation from the Sun on June 3rd, is now heading around the bend, so to speak, behind the Sun, on January 9th. The Earth moves faster than Jupiter, so it is appearing to move away from the Sun.

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

Addendum

Venus and Jupiter in conjunction

Venus and Jupiter in conjunction at 7 a.m. November 13, 2017. Venus will be 6 times brighter than Jupiter. They will appear half the width of the Moon apart. Created using Stellarium

11/12/2017 – Ephemeris Extra – Venus and Jupiter will appear together tomorrow morning

November 12, 2017 1 comment

Just a quick note.  I’ll talk about it in more detail tomorrow on the program, but this post will get you a full day heads up.  Venus and Jupiter have been approaching one another, at least from the Earth’s point of view for some time.  Monday morning their path’s will seem to cross, with Jupiter heading away from the Sun and Venus heading toward the Sun.

Venus and Jupiter in conjunction

Venus and Jupiter in conjunction at 7 a.m. November 13, 2017. Venus will be 6 times brighter than Jupiter. They will appear half the width of the Moon apart. Created using Stellarium.

These planets will rise at 6:22 a.m., a bit more than an hour before sunrise, at 7:36 a.m.

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

11/10/2017 – Ephemeris – The North Taurid Meteors are reaching peak this weekend

November 10, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, November 10th. The Sun will rise at 7:32. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 46 minutes, setting at 5:19. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 12:07 tomorrow morning.

One of the little known meteor showers for most of us are the North and South Taurid meteor showers. The shower that will reach peak this weekend is the North Taurids. They may show only 5 an hour when their radiants are overhead, but they are reported to be very bright. The radiant, the place where the meteors will appear to come from is just south of the Pleiades, will be up just about all night. Saturday night the Moon will rise at 1:15 a.m. Sunday night it will rise at 2:21 a.m. Both Taurid meteor showers are thought to be related to Encke’s Comet, the periodic comet with a period of only 3.3 years, the shortest known. A posting on Space.com about this years shower talked about the possibility that one of these meteorites might reach the ground.

Space.com has an excellent article about the Taurid meteor showers:  https://www.space.com/34587-taurid-meteor-shower-guide.html

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

Addendum

Northern Taurid meteor radiant

Northern Taurid meteor radiant near the Pleiades in Taurus the bull. Note the face of Taurus, the letter V or stars and Aldebaran. The stars in the face without Aldebaran is a star cluster called the Hyades. Created using Stellarium.

11/09/2017 – Ephemeris – Cassiopeia the queen and her husband

November 9, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, November 9th. The Sun will rise at 7:31. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 49 minutes, setting at 5:20. The Moon, 1 day before last quarter, will rise at 10:59 this evening.

The stars of the autumn skies hold forth now, but one prominent autumn constellation never leaves us, here in northern Michigan. Look high in the northeastern sky by 8 p.m. and you can find the W shaped constellation of Cassiopeia the queen. It is opposite the pole star Polaris from the Big Dipper, slinking low in the north-northwest. There’s a dim star that appears above the middle star of the W which turns the W into a very crooked backed chair. Above and left of Cassiopeia is a dim upside down church steeple shaped constellation of Cepheus the king. The Milky Way flows through a corner of Cepheus and Cassiopeia toward the northeastern horizon and through the constellation of Perseus the hero, and the bright star Capella in Auriga the Charioteer.

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

Addendum

Cassiopeia and friends

Cassiopeia and constellations along the Milky Way in the northeast these autumn evenings. (8 p.m. November 9, 2017). Click on image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

11/08/2017 – Ephemeris – Jupiter becomes visible in the morning (The bright planets this week)

November 8, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Wednesday, November 8th. The Sun will rise at 7:30. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 51 minutes, setting at 5:21. The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 9:52 this evening.

Let’s take our weekly look at the bright planets. Saturn is sinking low in the southwestern sky in the evening. Saturn’s rings are still spectacular in telescopes, but since Saturn is so low in the sky the turbulence of the thick atmosphere makes Saturn fuzzy and seemingly to go in and out of focus. Saturn will set at 7:37 p.m. Tomorrow in the morning sky, Mars, heading away from the Sun will rise in the east at 4:20 a.m., Venus, is heading closer to the Sun, will rise at 6:11 in the east-southeast. Jupiter is in the morning sky but lower than Venus, rising in the east-southeast at 6:33. Mercury has moved into the evening sky and will reach it’s greatest elongation from the Sun in 15 days, but will not be easily visible even then.

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

Addendum

Evening Planets

Saturn with Mercury (unlabeled) at the horizon at 6 p.m., November 8, 2017. Click on the image to enlarge. Create using Stellarium.

Saturn and Titan

Saturn and its brightest moon Titan in the evening November 8, 2017. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Binocular Moon

The Moon as it might be seen in binoculars at 10:30 p.m., November 8, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets

Mars, Venus and Jupiter at 7 a.m., November 9, 2017. Jupiter will come abreast of Venus on the morning of the 13th. when they will be less than the width of the Moon apart. Created using Stellarium.

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on November 8, 2017. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 9th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

11/07/2017 – Ephemeris Extra – G2 Geomagnetic Storm in progress

November 7, 2017 1 comment

There an enhanced chance for auroras (northern lights) tonight.
check out http://spaceweather.com/ or http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/.

Categories: Aurorae, Observing