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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

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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.

10/26/2017 – Ephemeris – Jupiter at perihelion and 96P/Comet Machholz 1 rounds the Sun

October 26, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Thursday, October 26th. The Sun will rise at 8:12. It’ll be up for 10 hours and 27 minutes, setting at 6:39. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 11:48 this evening. | Today at 2:02 in the afternoon the planet Jupiter will be in conjunction with the Sun, moving from east to west with respect to the Sun. Leaving the evening sky to enter the morning sky. While invisible from the Earth’s surface. There are cameras recording the Sun at all times that will also pick up Jupiter. Two on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory perched a million miles sunward of the Earth. are chronagraphs, and contain disks that block out the light of the Sun creating total eclipses. The planet will pass above or north of the Sun. The easiest way to find these images is to go to spaceweather.com, go down to the link section and select Solar and Heliospheric Observatory and click on The Sun Now. The images to check out at the two LASCO images.

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

Addendum

Jupiter snd Comet Machholz

The current LASCO C3 image at this blog’s posting time Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO.

Jupiter is about to be covered by the LASCO C3 coronagraph’s occulting disk.  It will still be visible in the C2 field.  As an extra bonus Comet 96P/Machholz entered the LASCO C3 field of view on the 25th and will exit on the 30th.

To follow Jupiter’s progress check out these animated GIFs:  https://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_c3.gif and https://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/LATEST/current_c2.gif.

Note that these animations will be current as of the date you click on them.

09/26/2017 – Ephemeris – Saturn appears near the Moon tonight

September 26, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, September 26th. The Sun will rise at 7:34. It’ll be up for 11 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 7:31. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 11:32 this evening.

Tonight the Moon will to be near the planet Saturn. At 9 p.m. the ringed planet will be seen below the crescent Moon. It’s a good way to spot Saturn if you’ve never be able to figure out which of those “stars” in the sky is Saturn. It’s easy to confirm with a small telescope. Even in binoculars Saturn is not quite a star-like point. Saturn’s rings begin to show distinctly with 20 power magnification. The Moon too is great to view at low power, even binoculars. A new sea has appeared since last night. It is the Sea of Serenity above the center of the Moon. The lunar seas are really large nearly circular lava filled craters that appear to have been the result of asteroid impacts about 3.8 or so billion years ago.

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

Addendum

Saturn and the Moon

Saturn and the Moon tonight, 9 p.m. September 26, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon

The Moon as it might be seen in binoculars, 9 p.m. September 26, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Compare with last night’s Moon.

The Moon tonight

The annotated crescent moon tonight, September 25, 2017. Created using Virtual Moon Atlas.

01/24/2017 – Ephemeris – The Moon is near Saturn this morning

January 24, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, January 24th.  The Sun will rise at 8:09.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 31 minutes, setting at 5:40.  The Moon, 3 days before new, will rise at 6:08 tomorrow morning.

This morning look low in the southeast to see the thin crescent Moon with the planet Saturn below and to the right.  The Moon passed Saturn a little after they rose.  Saturn is quite far south in our skies, almost as far south as the Sun was on the winter solstice on December 21st.  It will take a while to rise high enough in deep twilight or darkness for good views with a telescope.  When Saturn or any planet is low on the horizon we are looking at it through a lot of our atmosphere.  Beside draining about half its brightness that atmospheric motions make the planet fuzzy in telescopes.  Yes, you can still see the rings, but the gaps on each end between the rings and the planet may not be distinct, and its large moon Titan may not be visible at all.

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

Addendum

The morning planets and the Moon at 7 a.m. this morning, January 24th.  Because planetarium programs don't show a thin crescent very well, I've enlarged the Moon by a factor of 4 times.  Created using Stellarium.

The morning planets and the Moon at 7 a.m. this morning, January 24th. Because planetarium programs don’t show a thin crescent very well, I’ve enlarged the Moon by a factor of 4 times to make the Moon show up at all.  Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

12/23/2016 – Ephemeris – Another possible set of events that could have been the Star of Bethlehem

December 23, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, December 23rd.  The Sun will rise at 8:18.  It’ll be up for 8 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 5:06.  The Moon, 3 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:43 tomorrow morning.

The brilliant planet Venus is out evening star now, and one could say that’s its our Christmas Star.  And perhaps it was, or was part of the Star of Bethlehem.  Back in August of  3 BC the planet Jupiter and Venus appeared to come very close to one another.  The term for such an apparent close approach is called a conjunction.  Astrologers make a big deal out of such a chance alignment.   It’s like a trick photo of someone in the foreground appearing to hold up or leaning on a more distant object.   Anyway, 10 months later in June of 2 BC Jupiter again appeared to join Venus, this time so close they could not be separated by the human eye.  This all occurred against the constellation of Leo the lion which in Genesis is the symbol of Judah.

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

Addendum

Venus and Mars photograph

Venus and Mars in the twilight last night at 6 p.m., December 22, 2016. Photograph by Bob Moler.  Click on the image to enlarge.

I have more information on this set of conjunctions in my December 2 post announcing my program on the Star of Bethlehem:  https://bobmoler.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/12022016-ephemeris-my-talk-about-the-star-of-bethlehem-is-tonight/

 

08/26/2016 – Ephemeris – Friday Night Live tonight, Star Party tomorrow

August 26, 2016 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, August 26th.  The Sun rises at 6:58.  It’ll be up for 13 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 8:29.  The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 2:10 tomorrow morning.

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society finishes off August with another busy weekend.  Tonight the society members will bring their telescopes to downtown Traverse City and Friday Night Live, staying after to view the planets Saturn and Mars if it’s clear.  Saturn’s rings are, of course, spectacular.  Tomorrow night society members will be at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory beginning at 9 p.m. for a star party viewing of the planets, especially Saturn.  That later as it gets really dark, the summer Milky Way will appear with its great telescopic treasures.  Tomorrow, right after sunset the planets Venus and Jupiter will appear very close together.  Observers far south of us will have a better shot at it than we do.

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

Addendum

Venus near Jupiter

Venus near Jupiter at 9 p.m., or a half hour after sunset, August 27, 2016. I doubt if you could see the Jovian satellites against the bright twilight. It all but requires a big lake or ocean horizon, or a location far south of northern Michigan to raise these planets higher in the sky. Created using Stellarium.