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04/09/2020 – Ephemeris – How to find the constellation of Leo the lion

April 9, 2020 Leave a comment

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, April 9th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 12 minutes, setting at 8:21, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:06. The Moon, 2 days past full, will rise at 10:36 this evening.

At 10 p.m. the spring constellation of Leo the lion will be high in the south-southeast. It can be found by locating the Big Dipper high in the northeast and imagining that a hole were drilled in the bowl to let the water leak out. It would drip on the back of this giant cat. The Lion is standing or lying facing westward. His head and mane are seen in the stars as a backwards question mark. This group of stars is also called the sickle. The bright star Regulus is at the bottom, the dot at the bottom of the question mark. A triangle of stars, to the left of Regulus, is the lion’s haunches. Leo contains some nice galaxies visible in moderate sized telescopes. The stars in Leo’s part of the sky are fewer than those in the winter sky.

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

Addendum

Leaky Dipper drips on Leo.

Leaky Big Dipper drips on Leo. Created using my LookingUp program.

Ursa Major and Leo

Ursa Major with the Big Dipper in her hind end and Leo. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

04/08/2020 – Ephemeris – Morning planets are not practicing social distancing

April 8, 2020 Leave a comment

Note:  It seems the title is appropriate to our current predicament even though I hadn’t thought about it when I wrote and recorded the radio script that follows last Sunday.

This is Ephemeris for Wednesday, April 8th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 9 minutes, setting at 8:19, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:08. The Moon, 1 day past full, will rise at 9:16 this evening.

Let’s look at the naked-eye planets for this week. Venus is our evening star shining brightly in the west above the Pleiades. It will set at 12:33 a.m. The rest of the planet action is in the morning sky where there are three planets nearly evenly spread out in the southeast. Bright Jupiter will rise first at 3:46 a.m. Followed by Saturn at 4:05 a.m. Mars, left and below Saturn will rise at 4:27 a.m. It’s now as bright as a first magnitude star because it’s down to 130 million miles (209 million km) away, as the Earth slowly overtakes it at the rate of about 5 million miles (8 million km) a week. It’s brighter than the star Antares in the southwest. Mars will be closest to us in October, which makes a good time to launch spacecraft to it few months before then.

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

Addendum

Venus in the evening

Venus in the evening with the setting winter stars including those in Orion and Taurus at 10 p.m. April 8, 2020. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

The Moon as it might be seen in binoculars at 10 p.m. April 8, 2020. Created using Stellarium.

The morning planets and the southern summer stars in the moonlight at 6 a.m. April 9, 2020. The bright star on the right is Antares. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic planets

The planets as seen in a telescope with the same magnification. Venus in the evening and Jupiter and Saturn in the morning on the night of April 8/9, 2020. Apparent diameters: Venus, 28.21″; Jupiter, 38.00″; Saturn, 16.34″, rings, 38.07″. Mars at 6.72″ won’t be added until it reaches 10″. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree.) Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on April 8, 2020. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 9th. The planet traffic jam in the morning sky unfortunately overlays planets and labels. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

 

04/07/2020 – Ephemeris – Today is the Paschal full moon

April 7, 2020 Leave a comment

This is Ephemeris for Tuesday, April 7th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 6 minutes, setting at 8:18, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:09. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 7:55 this evening.

Tonight’s full moon is the Paschal full moon, the first full moon of spring which is tomorrow in the Holy Land, so Passover begins at sunset tomorrow. Easter for western churches falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring, which is this next Sunday the 12th. Orthodox Easter rule adds that it must fall after Passover,a week long observance, which pushes their Easter celebration to a week later, April 19th. Both Christian churches attempt to mimic the Jewish Lunar Calendar by setting Easter by the first full moon of spring using solar based calendars and assuming that spring started on March 21st. This year actual spring started on the 20th in the Holy Land, and 19th here by 10 minutes, in our Gregorian Calendar and 13 days earlier by the old Julian Calendar. This is all very complicated.

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

 

04/06/2020 – Ephemeris – Tomorrow’s full moon is special in two ways

April 6, 2020 Leave a comment

This is Ephemeris for Monday, April 6th. Today the Sun will be up for 13 hours and 3 minutes, setting at 8:17, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:11. The Moon, 1 day before full, will set at 7:21 tomorrow morning.

The Moon will be full tomorrow, and also it will reach perigee, that is, its closest to the Earth of its current orbit, and for 2020. That makes it a super moon. The orbit of the Moon is affected by the Sun, Venus, and Jupiter mostly. So all perigees are not equally close. At perigee tomorrow the Moon will be 221,772 miles (356,907* km). I its most distant point from the Earth of 252,564 miles (406,462* km). We won’t notice it because it will be nearly new at that time. Tomorrow’s full moon will be special in another way, because it it the full moon that announces Easter for both Christian churches, east and west, and Passover for the Jews. I’ll talk more about that tomorrow.

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

* According to Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon and Planets Third Edition by Jean Meeus.

4/03/2020 – Ephemeris – Tonight Venus appears among the stars of the Pleiades

April 3, 2020 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Friday, April 3rd. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 8:13, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:17. The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 5:48 tomorrow morning.

This evening the brilliant evening star, the planet Venus will appear within the Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster. Venus will slowly pass the Pleiades for the next few days. By the end of the month the Pleiades will be pretty much lost in the twilight. Evening star gazers will again pick it up late on September evenings, rising in the northeast. Venus, itself appears as a tiny crescent in small telescopes, and in May the tiny crescent will even be visible in binoculars. Venus reflects about 77 percent of the sunlight it receives because it is completely socked in by clouds. Clouds of a sulfuric acid mist. It is not a nice place. Surface temperature averages 867 degrees, and the atmospheric pressure is 90 times that of Earth.

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

Addendum

Venus and the Pleiades

binocular view of Venus and the Pleiades tonight at 10 p.m. EDT April 3, 2020. (2 hr UT April 4) Created using Stellarium. Note: More stars may be visible.  There will be a bright Moon out masking the dimmer members of the cluster. Your results may vary.

Update 04/03/2020 10:10 p.m. EDT

Photo of Venus and Pleiades

Photo of Venus and Pleiades taken at 9:37 p.m. EDT with Canon EOS Rebel T5, 300mm fl. f/5.6, 2 sec, ISO 3200, unguided. by myself.

04/02/2020 – Ephemeris – Let’s look at the Moon tonight

April 2, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Thursday, April 2nd. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 51 minutes, setting at 8:12, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:18. The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 5:09 tomorrow morning.

Tonight’s gibbous Moon is a bright fixture in the evening sky it’s in the constellation of Cancer the crab which its brightness obliterates, between the stars Castor and Pollux of Gemini on the right and Regulus of Leo on the left. The Beehive star cluster in Cancer can be spotted in binoculars to the left of the Moon by about 7 to 8 of its diameters. On the Moon itself are the gray, so-called seas and two spectacular craters near the terminator. The first is near the bottom limb of the Moon, the very large crater Clavius with an interesting arc of small craters of decreasing size within. The other remarkable crater is Copernicus about half way up and left, near the terminator, the Moon’s sunrise line.

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

Addendum

Moon and Beehive Star Cluster

The Moon and Beehive Star Cluster at 10 p.m. tonight April 2, 2020. If you are not in the eastern daylight time the Moon will be in a different position if you are in a different time zone.

Telescopic Moon

The Mon as it might appear in a low power telescope tonight at 10 p.m. April 2, 2020. Created using Virtual Moon Atlas (software).

04/01/2020 – Ephemeris – Looking at the naked-eye planets for this week

April 1, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for April Fools Day, Wednesday, April 1st. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 48 minutes, setting at 8:11, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:20. The Moon, at first quarter today, will set at 4:23 tomorrow morning.

Let’s look at the naked-eye planets for this week. Venus is our evening star shining brightly in the west just below the Pleiades. It will set at 12:26 a.m. The rest of the planet action is in the morning sky where there are three planets close together in the southeast. Bright Jupiter will rise first at 4:11 a.m. Followed by Saturn 4:31 a.m. Mars, left and below Saturn will rise at 4:39 a.m. It’s now as bright as a first magnitude star because it’s down to 135 million miles (217 million km) away, as the Earth slowly overtakes it at the rate of about 5 million miles (8 million km) a week. It’s brighter than the star Antares in the south-southwest. Mars passed Saturn yesterday afternoon moving eastward much faster than Saturn was.

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

Addendum

Venus and the Pleiades

Venus under the Pleiades tonight at 10 p.m. April 1, 2020. Created using Stellarium.

Binocular Moon

The Moon as it might look like in binoculars this evening April 1, 2020. Created using Stellarium.

Morning planets and the southern stars of summer

Morning planets and the southern stars of summer at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning April 2, 2020. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic planets

The planets as seen in a telescope with the same magnification. Venus in the evening and Jupiter and Saturn in the morning on the night of April 1/2, 2020. Apparent diameters: Venus, 25.85″; Jupiter, 37.21″; Saturn, 16.16″, rings, 37.65″. Mars at 6.46″ won’t be added until it reaches 10″. The ” symbol means seconds of arc (1/3600th of a degree.) Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Planets and the Moon on a single night

Planets and the Moon at sunset and sunrise of a single night starting with sunset on the right on April 1, 2020. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 2nd. The planet traffic jam in the morning sky unfortunately overlays planets and labels. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.