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01/03/2020 – Ephemeris – Astronomical events this weekend

January 3, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, January 3rd. The Sun will rise at 8:20. It’ll be up for 8 hours and 54 minutes, setting at 5:14. The Moon, 1 day past first quarter, will set at 1:49 tomorrow morning.

Tonight at 8 p.m. there will be a telescope clinic by the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society at the Rogers Observatory south of Traverse City on Birmley Road for those who have either received a telescope for Christmas or have one hidden away in an attic, to learn how to use it. Bring ‘em if you’ve got ‘em.

Tomorrow morning we’ll see the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower after the Moon sets. The radiant for this shower is near the handle of the Big Dipper, though they will be seen all over the sky. The peak should be around 3:20 a.m. with the possibility of over a hundred meteors visible per hour.

On Sunday at 5 a.m. the Earth will be its closest to the Sun for the year of 91,394,000 miles (147,085,000 km).

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

Addendum

Quadrantid radiant

The location of the Quadrantid radiant at 3:20 a.m. January 4, 2020 for the peak of the meteor shower. Created using Stellarium.

Earth's orbit

The Earth’s orbit, somewhat exaggerated, showing perihelion and the seasons. Credit “Starts with a Bang” blog by Ethan Siegel.

12/06/2019 – Ephemeris – I’m giving a talk tonight: Cosmology and Astronomy in the Bible

December 6, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, December 6th. Today the Sun will be up for 8 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 5:02, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:06. The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 3:02 tomorrow morning.

This evening yours truly will present one of his annual Christmas programs at Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory starting at 8 p.m., the monthly meeting of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society. The talk is Cosmology and Astronomy in the Bible. In Genesis and elsewhere we have descriptions of the earth and the heavens. We’ll look at what the ancient Hebrews thought of the structure of the universe from the Bible and other writings. Tomorrow evening we will also have a Star Party from 9 to 11 p.m. This will be the last viewing night of the year. If it’s clear we’ll look at the Moon and Great Orion Nebula. The observatory is located south of Traverse City on Birmley Road between Garfield and Keystone roads.

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

Addendum

Slide from the program

Let there be light slide from the program

10/21/2019 – Ephemeris – Sleeping Bear Dunes 49th Anniversary Star Party tonight

October 21, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, October 21st. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 42 minutes, setting at 6:48, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:07. The Moon, at last quarter today, will rise at 12:55 tomorrow morning.

A star party celebrating the 49th anniversary of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will be held tonight, October 21 2019, starting at 8 p.m. at the Dune Climb but only if it’s clear. It will be hosted by the Park Rangers and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society. The society invites all to come, to view the Milky Way, which will span the skies from horizon to horizon. The park has one of the darkest skies in the Lower Peninsula, and the Milky Way is especially impressive in late summer and early autumn. It’s our galaxy, containing all the individual stars we see, plus all the star clusters and nebulae we can see in our telescopes. And we can look out of it to the Great Andromeda Galaxy.

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

Addendum

Sunset on the 40th anniversary star party

Sunset on the 40th anniversary star party which was held at the Dunes Overlook on Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Credit Eileen Carlisle.

Preparing to start the star party

Preparing to start a star party at the Dune Climb. A few of the telescopes are visible including the GTAS 25″ “Emmettron” telescope at the far right. Credit: Eileen Carlisle.

10/16/2019 – Ephemeris – The bright planets and another talk I’m giving tonight

October 16, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Wednesday, October 16th. Today the Sun will be up for 10 hours and 57 minutes, setting at 6:56, and it will rise tomorrow at 8:00. The Moon, 3 days past full, will rise at 8:44 this evening.

Let’s look at the bright planets for this week. Mars, Venus and Mercury are too close to the Sun to be seen. Venus and Mercury are on the evening or east side of the Sun, Mars is on the west or morning side. Bright Jupiter will be low in the southwestern sky as it gets dark. It will set at 9:46 p.m. Saturn, the ringed planet, will be in the south-southwestern sky in the evening, and set at 11:32 p.m.

Tonight at 7 p.m. I will be giving an illustrated talk Apollo and the Moon Race at the main branch of the Traverse Area District library on Woodmere in Traverse City. It traces the events from Sputnik to the last Apollo mission to the Moon, the tumultuous 15 years of the space race between the United Stares and the Soviet Union.

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

Addenda

The planets this week

Evening planets

Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon at 8:30 p.m. tonight October 16, 2019. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using Stellarium.

Telescopic planets

Telescopic views of Jupiter and Saturn with the same magnification at 8:30 p.m. tonight October 16, 2019. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Binocular Moon

The waning gibbous Moon at 9:30 tonight October 16, 2019. Created using Stellarium.

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 October 16, 2019. The night ends on the left with sunrise on the 17th. Click on the image to enlarge. Created using my LookingUp program.

Apollo and the Race to the Moon

Apollo and the Race to the Moon Title

Apollo and the Race to the Moon Title slide

10/04/2019 – Ephemeris – Astronomy events in Traverse City this weekend

October 4, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, October 4th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 34 minutes, setting at 7:18, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:45. The Moon, 1 day before first quarter, will set at 11:33 this evening.

Tonight and tomorrow night there will be astronomy events at the Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory and weather permitting tomorrow night on Front Street in Traverse City.

  • Tonight there is the monthly meeting of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society with a program at 8 p.m. and a star party starting at 9 p.m.
  • Tomorrow night at the observatory from 7 to 8:30 p.m. NMC, the Rogers Observatory and the Traverse Area District Library will present Storyteller’s Night Sky with Mary Stewart Adams.
  • At the same time, if it’s clear, members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will set up telescopes on the East 200 block of Front Street in Traverse City for the International Observe the Moon Night.

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

09/30/2019 – Ephemeris – Autumn Stars talk tonight

September 30, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Monday, September 30th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 46 minutes, setting at 7:25, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:40. The Moon, 2 days past new, will set at 8:55 this evening.

I will be giving a presentation Autumn Stars, Galaxies Myths, and Stories tonight at the Woodmere Avenue branch of the Traverse Area District Library at 7 p.m. Afterward if it’s clear members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will bring their telescopes out to view Jupiter and Saturn. In the autumn season we lose the southern part of the Milky Way in the southwest, but there are number of of constellations that tell a famous story, that’s even made it to the cinema twice in recent years. There’s a star that evilly winks at us, and a huge galaxy the is visible to the naked eye that will crash into our Milky Way galaxy in the far future. Also the Native Americans around here have a constellation that paints the fall colors.

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

Addendum

09/27/2019 – Ephemeris – Apollo 50th anniversary talk tonight in Thompsonville

September 27, 2019 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, September 27th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 55 minutes, setting at 7:31, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:36. The Moon, 1 day before new, will rise at 7:09 tomorrow morning.

Tonight to commemorate the 50th anniversary the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon, I will present the illustrated talk Apollo and the Race to the Moon at 7 p.m. at the Betsie Valley District Library in Thompsonville. Afterwards, if it’s clear, members of the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will host a star party featuring Saturn and Jupiter and some of the brighter deep sky objects. In the talk I’ll explore the Apollo 11 mission, the engineers, astronauts and all the crewed and robotic missions that paved the way for the successful lunar landings. I’ll also look at the Soviet space program their triumphs, plans, and ultimate failure to beat the Americans to the Moon.

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

Addendum

Apollo and the Race to the Moon Title

Apollo and the Race to the Moon Title slide