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12/11/2017 – Ephemeris – Orion rising

December 11, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, December 11th. The Sun will rise at 8:09. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 52 minutes, setting at 5:02. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 2:22 tomorrow morning.

Off in the east-southeast at 9 in the evening the great constellation of Orion will be seen. This is the most famous of all constellations world-wide. We think the Big Dipper is a big deal. It’s not even a constellation, being the hind end of the great bear Ursa Major. Also it’s invisible if one travels far enough south of the equator. Orion is now a rectangle of stars tilted to the left as he rises. With three stars in a straight line in the center, his belt. They are aligned nearly vertically. Orion is a giant hunter. The rectangle depicts his shoulders and knees. Among its other bright stars Orion contains two of the brightest. The upper left star is the famous red giant star Betelgeuse. The lower left star is the blue-white super giant Rigel.

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

Addenda

Orion Rising

Orion fully risen in the east-southeast a 9 p,m, approximately 4 hours after sunset, December 11. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Note to Blog readers

As you probably know these posts are transcripts of my Ephemeris program.  The length of the program is exactly 59 seconds, and the first paragraph takes approximately 14 of those seconds.  So I don’t have much time for the topic at hand.  Therefore I dole out information in rather small spoonfuls.  I’ll be revisiting Orion many times over the winter, talking about the other stars, and wonders found among its stars, also its mythology.   If you can’t wait, type Orion in the search bar for all the past programs on Orion.  Don’t be surprised that much of the programs don’t change much from year to year.  I post the week’s worth of Ephemeris program MP3s on my monthly website http://ephemeris.bjmoler.org/ under the Audio link.

Sunday night and into the wee hours of Monday morning is the time I usually write and record the programs for Tuesday through the next Monday.  Blog postings are prepared the night before the air date.

 

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12/07/2017 – Ephemeris – The constellation of Auriga the Charioteer

December 7, 2017 Comments off

Ephemeris for Thursday, December 7th. The Sun will rise at 8:05. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 56 minutes, setting at 5:02. The Moon, 3 days before last quarter, will rise at 9:54 this evening.

The constellation Auriga the charioteer is about two-thirds the way up the sky in the east at 9 p.m. It is a pentagon of stars, with the brilliant star Capella at the top corner. Capella represents a she goat he’s carrying. A narrow triangle of stars nearby Capella is her kids. The Kids is an informal constellation or asterism. Within and near that pentagon, binoculars and telescopes will find several star clusters, groups of hundreds of stars born in the clump we still see them in. These star clusters will appear as fuzzy spots in binoculars. One called M 38 is near the center of the pentagon, M 36 is to the east of it and M 37, is farther east yet. The M designations come from Charles Messier who two centuries ago ran into them while looking for comets.

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

Addendum

Auriga Finder Chart

Auriga finder chart for 9 p.m. December 7th. any year. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Treasures in Auriga

Auriga, showing, among other things the Messier star clusters M 36, M 37, and M 38. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Cr 62 is Collander 62, a real or accidental star cluster of 4 stars called Auriga’s Diamond.  There’s an arc of stars just right of M 38 called the Cheshire Cat.   You can find these on Phil Harringtons’s Binocular Universe on the Cloudy Night’s website:  https://www.cloudynights.com/articles/cat/articles/new-articles-in-monthname/binocular-universe-aurigan-treasures-r2646

12/04/2017 – Ephemeris – Orion rising in the moonlight

December 4, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, December 4th. The Sun will rise at 8:02. It’ll be up for exactly 9 hours, setting at 5:02. The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 6:32 this evening.

Now that the Moon is quite bright and making the fainter stars in the constellations harder to find, let’s look at one of the bright stars of Winter. Tonight at 8 p.m. the bright reddish star Betelgeuse is low in the east, but will be rising higher and moving slightly southward, as the rest of the bright stars in its constellation of Orion the hunter also clear the horizon. To its right are a nearly vertical line of three equally spaced stars, Orion’s belt. Betelgeuse is in Orion’s shoulder. The name Betelgeuse is a corruption of the Arabic phrase “Armpit of the Central One”, although there’s some debate about that translation. Betelgeuse is maybe only 7 million years old, but due to its great mass of up to 20 times that of the Sun, is already dying.

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

Addendum

Orion rising

Orion rising in the light of a super moo at 8 p.m.,, about 3 hours after sunset, December 4, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

11/21/2017 – Ephemeris – The constellation of the fish has me looking for the fish

November 21, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Tuesday, November 21st. The Sun will rise at 7:47. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 5:09. The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 7:50 this evening.

High in the south at 8 or 9 p.m. are the four bright stars of the Great Square of Pegasus, the upside down flying horse. Lying along the left and bottom sides of that square is the constellation of Pisces the fish, one of the 12 constellations of the Zodiac that lie along the path of the sun, moon and planets. Even though the constellation is called the fish, the two fish themselves are not represented in the stars, at least that’s how I see it. What can be traced in the stars is the rope, that’s tied to their tails, anchored at the extreme southeastern part of the constellation. The right or western end of the Pisces is the asterism, or informal constellation, of the Circlet. It’s the loop of 5 stars, the rope around the tail of one of the two fish. The other end, without a loop, ends up under Andromeda.  Artists have always supplied the fish.

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

Addendum

Pisces finder chart

Animated Pisces finder chart base at November 21, at 9 p.m. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

11/20/2017 – Ephemeris – The Moon is near Saturn tonight and the approaching signs of winter

November 20, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Monday, November 20th. The Sun will rise at 7:46. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 23 minutes, setting at 5:09. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 7:04 this evening.

Tonight the two day old Moon will appear near Saturn. The ringed planet will appear to the left and a bit below the thin crescent Moon before they set about an hour later. The approaching winter season and the resumption of standard time have dropped sunset to 5:09 in the Interlochen/Traverse City area. Our sunset will drop another 11 minutes before slowly recovering 19 days from now. Two to three hours later another sign of the approaching winter season will appear, as the constellation of the giant hunter Orion rises in the east. He is resplendent with his nearly vertical belt of three stars rising, framed to the left and right by the bright stars reddish Betelgeuse and bluish Rigel. He will dominate our evening skies until April.

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

Addendum

Saturn and the Moon

The Moon and Saturn at 6 p.m. November 20, 2017. Created using Stellarium.

Orion rising

Finder chart for the rising Orion at 9 p.m., November 30, 2017. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

11/17/2017 – Ephemeris – Capricornus the sea-goat

November 17, 2017 1 comment

Ephemeris for Friday, November 17th. The Sun will rise at 7:42. It’ll be up for 9 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 5:12. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:34 tomorrow morning.

This morning, if it’s clear the exceedingly thin crescent Moon will appear to the right of Venus at 7 a.m. or later with Jupiter above them. This evening, however we look to the constellation Capricornus the sea-goat and member of the Zodiac. 2000 years ago the southernmost of the constellations of the zodiac was Capricornus. That’s why the latitude on the earth where the Sun is overhead on the winter solstice is called the Tropic of Capricorn. Not any more, Sagittarius, one constellation west, has that honor today. Capricornus is large, but made up of dim stars. To me it looks like a 45 degree isosceles triangle, long side up, but which all the sides are sagging low in the southwest at 8 p.m. and tilted a bit from the upper left to the lower right The image that is supposed to be represented by the stars is that of a goat whose hind quarters are replaced by a fish’s tail.

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

Addendum

Jupiter-Venus-Moon

Jupiter, Venus and the Moon at 7 a.m. November 17, 2017. Created using Stellarium. The Moon’s crescent is too thin to record, however the earth shine glow is and will be visible.

Capricornus

Animated Capricornus finder chart for 9 p.m. November 17, 2017. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

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.