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09/25/2020 – Ephemeris – The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Virtual Star Party is tonight

September 25, 2020 Leave a comment

This is Ephemeris for Friday, September 25th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 59 minutes, setting at 7:33, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:35. The Moon, 2 days past first quarter, will set at 1:51 tomorrow morning.

Tonight the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society may hold the park’s 50th anniversary online star party this evening starting around 8 pm via the Zoom app available for Android smart phones, iPhones and computers. Instructions for joining are on the society’s web site gtastro.org and the Sleeping Bear Dunes Facebook page. Images will be captured live, if it’s clear, from Northwestern Michigan College’s Joseph H Rogers Observatory. The images will be pretty much what is seen at the telescope eyepiece, and definitely not Hubble Space Telescope quality, which take days to process. Visible will be the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and later on Mars plus some really neat objects beyond the solar system. it all begins at 9 pm.

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

Addendum

Saturn by Jerry Dobek

Preview of Saturn imaged by Professor Jerry Dobek at Northwestern Michigan College’s Joseph H. Rogers Observatory.

Mars by Jerry Dobek

Preview of Mars imaged by Professor Jerry Dobek at Northwestern Michigan College’s Joseph H. Rogers Observatory. Notice at top the small whitish patch, it a polar cap at the south pole of Mars. There are also some darker patches on the upper half of the image.

09/11/2020 – Ephemeris – A virtual star party tonight

September 11, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, September 11th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 42 minutes, setting at 7:59, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:18. The Moon, 1 day past last quarter, will rise at 1:19 tomorrow morning.

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will host a virtual star party at 9 pm tonight. It is via the Zoom app for the smart phone, tablet or computer at zoom (dot) us. Instructions and a link can be found on the society’s website gtastro.org. It will be hosted by Dr. Jerry Dobek, astronomy professor at Northwestern Michigan College. During a virtual star party the images are produced real time or near real time using a telescope mounted CCD camera. That is if it’s clear. Images of dimmer objects like star clusters or nebulae, what we call DSOs or deep sky objects may take exposures of several seconds or minutes to build up an image. But have the advantage of being in color. If cloudy we’ll have a virtual, virtual star party.

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

08/07/2020 – Ephemeris – An online astronomy meeting and star party tonight

August 7, 2020 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Friday, August 7th. Today the Sun will be up for 14 hours and 23 minutes, setting at 8:59, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:37. The Moon, half way from full to last quarter, will rise at 11:16 this evening.

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will host a virtual meeting tonight at 9 pm followed by a virtual star party at 10 pm. It is via the Zoom app a link can be found on the society’s website gtastro.org. It will be hosted by Dr. Jerry Dobek, astronomy professor at Northwestern Michigan College. During a virtual star party the images are produced real time or near real time using a telescope mounted CCD camera. That is if it’s clear. Images of dimmer objects like star clusters or nebulae, what we call DSOs or deep sky objects may take exposures of several seconds or minutes to build up an image. But have the advantage of being in color. We are quite color blind at low light levels.

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

07/03/2020 – Ephemeris – Grand Traverse Astronomical Society virtual meeting tonight

July 3, 2020 Comments off

This is Bob Moler with Ephemeris for Friday, July 3rd. Today the Sun will be up for 15 hours and 28 minutes, setting at 9:31, and it will rise tomorrow at 6:03. The Moon, 2 days before full, will set at 5:18 tomorrow morning.

The Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will host a virtual meeting tonight at 8 pm. It is via the Zoom app for the smart phone, tablet or going to zoom.us with a browser on your computer. Instructions and a link can be found on the society’s website gtastro.org. With the Sun out so long now, I will be giving the presentation: The Sun and the Earth, about the relationship between the two bodies. I’ll talk about all the energy the Sun puts out and how the atmosphere protects us from some of it. We’ll look at the cause of the seasons, and why, in early July as summer is getting going the Earth is at its farthest from the Sun, and what effect that has on the our summers. And lots more.

03/06/2020 – Ephemeris – Tonight Becky Shaw presents one of the first women in STEM: Hypatia of Alexandria

March 6, 2020 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, March 6th. Today the Sun will be up for 11 hours and 27 minutes, setting at 6:37, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:08. The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 6:15 tomorrow morning.

This evening the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society will meet the Northwestern Michigan College’s Rogers Observatory on Birmley Road between Garfield and Keystone roads at 8 p.m. The presentation will be by Becky Shaw on one of the first female astronomers Hypatia of Alexandria. Besides excelling in astronomy Hypatia was one of the greatest philosophers of her day in the 4th and 5th centuries CE. She had an unfortunate end being murdered by a mob in 415. After the meeting, at about 9 p.m. there will be observing, weather permitting, of the Moon and the planet Venus, and maybe the Great Orion Nebula. The Pleiades star cluster will also look great in binoculars, so bring ‘em if you’ve got ‘em.

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

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.