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Archive for the ‘Constellations’ Category

07/10/2018 – Ephemeris – The celestial scorpion

July 10, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, July 10th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 9:28, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:08. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 4:38 tomorrow morning.

For most of the year I’ve been referencing the constellation of Scorpius the scorpion in passing. Let’s take a good look at this creature. There are no scorpions in Michigan, unless someone imported some. However the one celestial scorpion now seen in the south near 11 p.m. is a beautiful example of one. His heart is the red giant star Antares. Another to the upper right leads to a trio of stars in a bit of a vertical bow. It’s claws extend into the next constellation over, Libra and the stars Zubenelgenubi, near Jupiter and Zubeneschamali, the south and north claws. From Antares the body droops down and curves just at the horizon, before making that distinctive curved tail with two stars at the stinger.

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

Addendum

Scorpius finder animation

Scorpius finder animation. I’m leaving the artwork to another image, since I really don’t see the scorpion as Stellarium’s artist sees it. Animation created using Stellarium and GIMP.

Scorpius artwork

Scorpius artwork closer to how I see it with the claws extending into Libra. I was able to find the image using a Google search, but was unable to find the original source.

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07/09/2018 – Ephemeris – Ophiuchus. the serpent bearer in the sky

July 9, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, July 9th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 22 minutes, setting at 9:29, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:07. The Moon, half way from last quarter to new, will rise at 3:50 tomorrow morning.

The red star Antares shines in the south at 11 p.m. In the constellation of Scorpius. In the area of sky above and a little to the left lies a large constellation of faint stars called Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer. The constellation shape is like a large bell, which reminds me of the head, shoulders and arms of a fellow that’s holding the snake-like a weight lifter pulling up a heavy barbell. The serpent he’s holding is Serpens, the only two-part constellation in the heavens. The head rises to Ophiuchus’ right and the tail extends up to the left. In Greek legend Ophiuchus was a great physician, educated by the god Apollo, and the centaur Chiron, also found in the stars as Sagittarius, now rising below and left of him.

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

Addendum

Ophiuchus finder animation

Ophiuchus finder animation plus constellations discussed. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

07/02/2018 – Ephemeris – The starry triangle of summer

July 2, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, July 2nd. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 30 minutes, setting at 9:31, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:02. The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 12:19 tomorrow morning.

Now that it’s summer it’s time to look for the Summer Triangle in the sky. It’s seen rising in the east as it gets dark. Highest of the three bright stars is Vega in the constellation Lyra the harp, whose body is seen in a narrow parallelogram nearby. The second star of the triangle is Deneb lower and left of Vega, It appears dimmer than Vega because it is by far the most distant of the three. The third star of the Summer Triangle is seen farther below and a right of Vega. It is Altair in Aquila the eagle, and the closest. Altair is 16.5 light years away, Vega is 27 light years while Deneb actually one of the brighter stars known, is 1500 or more light years away. It’s distance is not well known.

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

Addendum

The Summer Triangle July 5, 2012 at 11 p.m. Created using Stellaruim and The Gimp.

The Summer Triangle. Created using Stellarium.

06/14/2018 – Ephemeris – The mighty hero Hercules in the sky

June 14, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Flag Day, Thursday, June 14th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 33 minutes, setting at 9:29, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, 1 day past new, will set at 10:27 this evening.

Orion, the hard luck Greek hunter gets a splashy constellation in the winter sky, but the greatest hero of all, Hercules, gets a dim group of stars on the border between the spring and summer stars. At 11 p.m. Hercules is high in the southeast. It is located above and right of the bright star, Vega in the east. Hercules’ central feature is a keystone shaped box of stars, called the Keystone, which represents the old boy’s shorts. From each top corner extend lines of stars that are his legs, from the bottom stars, the rest of his torso and arms extend. So in one final indignity he’s upside down in our sky. Some see him crouched down, club upraised holding the Hydra about to throttle it. For those with a telescope it contains the beautiful globular star cluster M13.

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

Addendum

Hercules

Hercules animation showing neighboring stars, constellation outlines, deep sky objects, and constellation art for Hercules. Created using Stellarium. Click on image to enlarge.

M13

M13, the Great Globular Star Cluster in Hercules. Credit: Scott Anttila

06/12/2018 – Ephemeris – Virgo the virgin

June 12, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Tuesday, June 12th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 32 minutes, setting at 9:28, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 6:02 tomorrow morning.

Tonight in the sky: to the south, is bright Jupiter. The brightest star to the right of Jupiter is Spica. It is in the constellation and member of the of the zodiac: Virgo the virgin. Virgo is a large constellation of a reclining woman holding a stalk of wheat. The bright star in the center of the constellation, Spica, is the head of that spike of wheat; and as such it ruled over the harvest in two of Virgo’s guises as the goddesses Persephone and Ceres. Ceres is now a dwarf planet and the root of the word cereal. Virgo is also identified as Astraea the goddess of justice. The constellation of Libra, the scales of justice, which she is associated with, is found just east of her low in the southeast.

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

Addendum

Virgo finder chart

Virgo finder animation for 10:30 p.m. June 12, 2018. Click on image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

06/11/2018 – Ephemeris – Jupiter and the claws of the scorpion

June 11, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, June 11th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 31 minutes, setting at 9:28, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:56. The Moon, 2 days before new, will rise at 5:17 tomorrow morning.

Right now the bright planet Jupiter is seen in the south as it gets dark. There is a star visible below Jupiter now. The name of that star is my favorite star name: Zubenelgenubi. It roughly translates from the Arabic, and most star names are Arabic, as “Southern Claw”. This star, also known as Alpha Librae, is in the zodiacal constellation of Libra the scales or balance, a roughly square constellation standing on one corner. The name relates to Scorpius the scorpion to the east who in the Arab’s imagination extended farther to the west. The star farther to the upper left of Jupiter tonight is Zubeneschamali, you guessed it, the northern claw, also part of Libra. It’s the longest star name at 14 letters.

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

Addendum

Jupiter with Zubenelgeubi

Jupiter with Zubenelgenubi, the South Claw and with nearby Zubeneschamali, the North Claw of Scorpius, still rising at 11 p.m. June 11, 2018. Created using Stellarium.

06/08/2018 – Ephemeris – Anishinaabek constellation of the Sweat Lodge

June 8, 2018 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, June 8th. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 29 minutes, setting at 9:26, and it will rise tomorrow at 5:57. The Moon, 2 days past last quarter, will rise at 3:37 tomorrow morning.

This past Monday I talked about the constellation of Corona Borealis, high in the southeast at 10:30 in the evening and the Greek mythology that surrounds it. It’s a small three-quarters of a circle of stars sandwiched between the larger constellations of Boötes to the west or right and Hercules on left or east. To the Anishinaabek people, who are natives of our region of which the Ottawa or Odawa, Chippewa and Ojibwe tribes are a part it is the Sweat Lodge. A section of what we call Hercules next to it is the Exhausted Bather, who is a participant lying on the ground after the ceremony. The seven stones that are heated for the Sweat Lodge ceremony 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

Sweat Lodge finder animation

The Anishinaabek constellations of the Sweat Lodge and the Exhausted Bather looking high in the southeast at 10:30 p.m., Click on image to enlarge. June 8, 2018. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

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.