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02/20/2018 – Ephemeris – Tonight’s the night to spot a chain of three of my favorite craters

February 20, 2018 Leave a comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, February 20th. The Sun will rise at 7:35. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 43 minutes, setting at 6:18. The Moon, 3 days before first quarter, will set at 11:29 this evening.

I was a day off in my Moon calculations yesterday. The three of my favorite craters, just south of the partially illuminated Sea of Tranquility will be visible tonight. From north to south or top to bottom, near the terminator or sunrise line is Theophilus, which slightly overlaps the crater wall of Cyrillus, then a bit farther south another older crater Catharina. These craters were named by a Jesuit astronomer Giovanni Battista Riccioli (Ri’cholli). He even named a crater Copernicus, even though he followed the Church teachings of the time he didn’t believe in the Copernican Sun centered system, but the system put forth by Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe where the Moon and Sun circled the Earth, but the other planets circled the Sun.

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

Addendum

Crescent Moon

The crescent Moon on the evening of February 20th, 2018. showing the craters discussed in the test. Created using Virtual Moon Atlas and rotated to approximate its orientation in the sky after sunset.

Repeating from yesterday:  For anyone east of here who can see the Moon at 19:00 UT, on the 20th should see Theophilus shadow filled with the crater rim and the central peak poking into sunlight.  It should be visible from Europe and the Mid East.  Let me know with a comment if I guessed right.

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10/17/2017 – Ephemeris – The Fisher paints the autumn leaves red

October 17, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, October 17th. The Sun will rise at 8:00. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 53 minutes, setting at 6:54. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 6:35 tomorrow morning.

This morning, if it’s clear the red planet Mars will appear just to the right of the thin crescent Moon. Mars isn’t the only thing that’s red now. So are the maple leaves as we advance into autumn. The native Anishinaabek peoples have a story about how that came to be. Of how a magical weasel-like creature called the Fisher or Ojiig brought summer to the Earth from Skyland. For his trouble he was shot with an arrow in his only vulnerable spot, the tip of his tail. As he fell to Earth the Great Spirit, Manitou caught him and placed him in the sky where we see the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and the Big Dipper. Every autumn we see his tail swoop down to the ground where his tail paints the leaves red with his blood.

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

Addenda

The Moon and the morning planets this morning

The Mon with the morning planets

The Moon and Mars at 6:30 this morning October 17, 2017. Click on image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

At 00:21 UTC on the 18th Venus will be south of the Moon.  It will be visible from Asia.

The Fisher (Ojiig) paints the trees with the autumn colors

Autumn colors

Autumn colors. My image.

Fisher brushing his tail along the horizon

An animation of Fisher brushing his tail along the horizon on autumn nights. Click on image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

The constellation art is part of the latest versions of Stellarium. Ojibwe (Anishinaabek) constellation art by Annette S Lee and William Wilson from Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide, ISBN 978-0-615-98678-4.

See the version of the story I learned:  The story of the Fisher Star.

There are other variations of the story, and other adventures of the Fisher.  Perform an Internet search for: Fisher or Fisher Star or Ojiig.

 

 

 

10/09/2017 – Ephemeris – Old World vs New World

October 9, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Columbus Day observed, Monday, October 9th. The Sun will rise at 7:50. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 7:07. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 10:09 this evening.

Today the United States celebrates Columbus Day , a Monday near the date Christopher Columbus landed on a Caribbean island, and found people who got there at least 15 thousand years earlier. Due to superior technology, and nothing else really, the Europeans conquered the peoples of the continents they called the Americas, deeming the indigenous peoples, incorrectly, as savages.

My astronomical journey started with learning the constellations and their stories from the ancient Greeks. About five years ago I began to investigate the constellations and stories of the Anishinaabek peoples whose ancient lands we live on, which turn out to be as rich and as meaningful as those I learned in my youth from the Old World.

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

05/22/2017 – Ephemeris – Why does the Great Bear have a long tail?

May 22, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, May 22nd.  Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 4 minutes, setting at 9:11, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:06.  The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 5:01 tomorrow morning.

The Great Bear, or Ursa Major as the Greeks, Romans and others saw it, has been handed down to us to this day.  We see the Great Bear as the Big Dipper overhead in the evening now, which is just his hind end, with a long very unbearlike tail.  The ancient Greek story goes that a god, not wishing to grab the end with the teeth, grabbed instead her stubby tail and in hurling her into the sky, and stretched the tail.  Native Americans who also saw a bear here, saw the three stars of the dipper handle as three hunters following the bear.  The local Anishinaabek people saw here instead the Fisher, a magical weasel-like animal who had a long tail naturally.  He brought summer to the Earth, and was killed for his efforts, but was placed in the sky to show us the seasons.

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

Addendum

The Great Bear and the Fisher

The Big Dipper/Great Bear/Fisher as seen by western and Anishinaabek people. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Western art is by Johan Meuris.

The source for the Ojibwe constellation art in Stellarium is from Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide (An introduction to Ojibwe Star Knowledge) by Annette S. Lee, William Wilson, Jeffrey Tibbetts, and Carl Gawboy, ISBN 978-0-615-98678-4.  The illustrations are by Annette S. Lee and William Wilson.  There is also a poster sized star map available.  It should be available in book stores locally, or on Amazon.  I found my copy at Enerdyne in Suttons Bay.

My retelling of the Fisher or Fisher Star is here:  https://bobmoler.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/the-story-of-the-fisher-star/

05/18/2017 – Ephemeris – Finding Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown

May 18, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, May 18th.  Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 9:07, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:10.  The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 2:54 tomorrow morning.

In the east 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 Anishinaabek 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, the Sweat Lodge

Animation for finding and showing Corona Borealis, the Sweat Lodge and nearby constellations. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.  Click on the image to enlarge.

The source for the Ojibwe constellation art in Stellarium is from Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide (An introduction to Ojibwe Star Knowledge) by Annette S. Lee, William Wilson, Jeffrey Tibbetts, and Carl Gawboy, ISBN 978-0-615-98678-4.  The illustrations are by Annette S. Lee and William Wilson.  There is also a poster sized star map available.  It should be available in book stores locally, or at Amazon.  I found my copy at Enerdyne in Suttons Bay.

 

03/16/2017 – Ephemeris – Curly Tail, The Great Underwater Panther

March 16, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, March 16th.  The Sun will rise at 7:52.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 7:50.  The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 12:03 tomorrow morning.

The Anishinabek people of the Great Lakes Region, which includes the Ottawa, Chippewa and Ojibwe Indians have two constellations of winter that I know of.  The first is The Winter Maker which uses many of Orion’s stars plus Procyon the Little Dog Star.  It rises in the eastern skies in the evening as winter is beginning.  The second is the Curly Tail, the Great Underwater Panther.  Which uses the stars of Leo the lion’s backward question mark as its tail and the small knot of stars that are the head of Hydra the water snake below Cancer as its head.  I imagine this constellation was a warning to youngsters to keep off the thinning ice of spring, lest they fall in and be snatched by the great underwater panther that lives beneath the ice.

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

Addendum

Ojibwe constellations

An animated GIF rotating between an unannotated star field facing south at 10 p.m. March 16th.; Western constellation names and lines for Orion, Hydra, and Leo; Western constellation art, Ojibwe constellation names and lines; and Ojibwe constellation art. Created using Stellarium. The Ojibwe constellation art is supplied as part of the latest version of Stellarium.  Click on the image to enlarge.

The source for the Ojibwe constellation art is from Ojibwe Sky Star Map Constellation Guide (An introduction to Ojibwe Star Knowledge) by Annette S. Lee, William Wilson, Jeffrey Tibbetts, and Carl Gawboy, ISBN 978-0-615-98678-4.  The illustrations are by Annette S. Lee and William Wilson.  There is also a poster sized star map available.  It should be available in book stores locally, or at Amazon.  I found my copy at Enerdyne in Suttons Bay.

Also shown is the Pleiades, which to the Ojibwe is Hole in the Sky, which has to do with the Shaking Tent Ceremony.  The Pleiades is also known as the Sweating Stones, the heated stones used in the Sweat Lodge Ceremony.  In the later spring sky the Sweat Lodge itself is seen in the stars of the Western Corona Borealis.

Note:  As far as tribe names go:  Ottawa = Odawa, and Chippewa = Ojibwe.

02/15/2017 – Ephemeris – Your weekly look at the bright planets

February 15, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, February 15th.  The Sun will rise at 7:42.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 29 minutes, setting at 6:11.  The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 11:18 this evening.

Let’s check out the bright planets for this week.  Saturn can be glimpsed this morning in the southeast at 7 a.m.  It will rise tomorrow at 4:10 a.m. in the east-southeast.  Jupiter can be seen in the south-southwest this morning above the star Spica in Virgo and below left of the Moon.  Jupiter will rise tonight in the east at 10:47 p.m.  Venus and Mars are in the evening sky. At 7 p.m. these planets will be seen in the west-southwestern sky.  Venus is unmistakable as the brilliant evening star,  Mars will be left and above it and much dimmer.  Venus will set at 9:52 p.m. while Mars will set at 10:14.  Venus exhibits a dazzling crescent in small telescopes now, but a month from now as it gets closer to Earth the thinning crescent will be big enough to be seen in binoculars.

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

Addendum

Evening planets

Venus and Mars in the evening twilight of about an hour after sunset. 7 p.m. February 15, 2017. Venus is now drawing away from Mars as it heads toward the Sun faster than Mars. Their apparent paths won’t cross again until October in the morning sky. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic Venus

Venus as it might appear in a telescope tonight February 15, 2017. I processed the image to overexpose it as it would appear in a telescope. Venus is getting closer to the Earth at 40.5 million miles, 65.2 million km. It is 38.3″ (arc seconds) in diameter, slightly smaller that Jupiter’s apparent diameter. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets

Jupiter in the south above the star Spica and the waning gibbous Moon to the right with Saturn in the southeast at 7 a.m. this morning, February 15, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon

What the waning gibbous Moon might look like in binoculars this morning at 7 a.m. February 15, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and moons

Jupiter and its moons hanging on the east side of the planet as they might appear in telescopes this morning at 7 a.m. February 15, 2017. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Saturn and its moons

Saturn and its brightest moons as they might appear in telescopes this morning at 7 a.m. February 15, 2017. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets and Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night

Planets and Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on February 15, 2017. The night ends on the left with sunrise on February 16. Click on image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.